L.A. Focus Newspaper April 2019

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Church News: Faithful Central Pastoral Anniversary Honors First Lady Togetta Ulmer PAGE



Hollywood Buzz: Black Panther Reigns At NAACP Image Awards PAGE



Community Mourns Death, Celebrates Legacy of Nipsey Hussle

>> Through The Storm Miss Jessies’ Triumph Over Tragedy





L.A. Focus Publications

APRIL 2019

Left: Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Best Costume Design Oscar winner Ruth Carter, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, Best Production Design Oscar winner Hannah Beachler, and Councilmember Curren Price attend a special council presentation to be honored during Women’s History Month.Center:Black Panther Director and cast mates pose for photos after winning big at the 50th NAACP Image Awards. Right: LA Congress member Karen Bass, GA Congress member Lucy McBath take a moment to smile for the camera.


From The Editor Bulletts Ain’t Got No Respect

Commentary To Live and Die in South L.A.



Community Mourns Death,Celebrates Legacy of Nipsey Hussle; State Leaders Kick Off $100.3M Census Push


Head to Head

Is The College Admissions Scandal Really All That Suprising?

Headlines From Africa Feature Story

8 Money Matters 10

Saving Our Kids As Autism Rates Rise, Two Woman Are Changing The Narrative For Black Parents

12 13 14 16 18

Denny’s Partners With Magic Johnson

On The Money White Schools Receive $23 Billion More In Funding

staff Publisher/Editor-In-Chief Staff Writers Production Photographer Advertising Social Media

Lisa Collins Gerald Bell, Keith DeLawder Kisha Smith Ian Foxx, Rickey Brown Leatha Davis Antoinette Banks

L.A. Focus–On the Word, is published monthly. Address all correspondence to: L.A. Focus, 333 W. Florence Ave., Suite C333 Inglewood, CA 90301 • (310) 677-6011 Subscription rates $25.00 per year.

Maxine Waters To White Supermist Haters:”Come For Me and I’ll Come For You”

Game Changers Koshi Mills: Bridging The Gap Between African Americans and the African Dispora

Through The Storm Miss Jessie’s Triumph Over Tragedy

Calendar/Around LA Red Carpet Styles 50th Annual NAACP Image Awards

Eye On Gospel One On One Lupita Nyong’o



Church News

Faithful Central Pastoral Anniversary Honors First lady Togetta Ulmer; Pastors show of support for Pastor Xavior Thompson

24 Pastor Profile 25 First Lady Files 26 From The Pulpit Bishop Horace Allen

Barbars Hendricks Church of The Living God

“In Pursit of the Good Life” Agape Church of Los Angeles

Jonathan Reynolds Is Big Winner At The Stellar Awards;LeAndria Johnson To Quit Gospel Music?

Lawmakers Seek Tighter For-Profit College Oversight

Biz News Briefs

Upfront Extra

Hollywood Buzz Black Panther Wins Big at NAACP Image Awards;Tiffany Haddish Lands Netflix Show

28 People Files In Good Taste 29 Saving Grace 30

Price School Honors Allen Crabbe with Home court in his name; Donna Brazile Joins Fox News

Porsche Thomas- Vegan Chili

Charles Malik Whitfield

honorary advisors West Angeles C.O.G.I.C. City of Refuge Greater Zion Church Family Southern Saint Paul Church Faithful Central Bible Church Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Mt. Zion MBC Jacob’s Ladder

Bishop Charles Blake Bishop Noel Jones Pastor Michael Fisher Rev. Xavier L. Thompson Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer Pastor Emeritus Melvin Wade Rev. Edward V. Hill II Bishop Robert T. Douglas, Sr

advisory board Napoleon Brandford Pastor Beverly Crawford Lem Daniels Bob Blake

Siebert, Brandford, Shank & Co. Bible Enrichment Fellowship International Church Morgan Stanley Bob Blake & Associates

Cover Design:




UpScale Media



LAWRENCE ROSS Guest Columnist

To Live and Die in South L.A. t’s important for people to understand why it’s OK for Nipsey Hussle to be seen as a hero in South Los Angeles. But we have to get a few things straight. Don’t get distracted by the fact that he was a Rollin’ 60s Crip; people join gangs because they seek a sense of community in a society that has discarded them. Don’t get distracted by the tattoos, because when you’re not interested in fitting into a society that has discarded you, you are free to express yourself in your own way. And don’t let that little bit of guilty feeling invade your brain, the one that says, “Well, what do you expect? He was a gang member, so he sorta deserved it.” Nah kid, Nipsey was from South L.A. (formerly South Central), just like me, a college educated and so-called respectable husband and father in the neighborhood, and he deserves the same respect that comes from being a product of our rich community. Because I want you to see Nipsey Hussle through my prism, as he’s not that much different than me. Before we moved to Inglewood when I was 6, we lived in the Rollin’ 60s, right next to the old Langendorf Bakery factory. It was so ubiquitous to my childhood, that even today, over 40 years later, whenever I smell baked goods, it always brings up those memories of living on Cimarron and Gage, right in the heart of those notorious Rollin’ 60s blocks. Twenty years apart in age, I got out, but Nipsey didn’t. That said, in some ways, Nipsey was the American dream. Started from the bottom, not with some “small” million dollar loan from his daddy, but the hard way. He developed his musical talent and sold mixtapes on the streets. Worked in the neighborhood. Went to school in the neighborhood. Got his first job in the neighborhood. If you’re from around here, probably got your order for fish from him at the Bayou Grille in Inglewood.Then he blew up. Got a Grammy nomination. That should be celebrated. Made mistakes. Those, he acknowledged. But he also did what we all want folks who come from South L.A. to do. He stayed in the neighborhood. I’m one of the owners of The Metaphor Club, a creative co-working space on


From the Editor

Crenshaw Boulevard, right in the heart of South L.A. But about six months prior to our opening, Nipsey helped create Vector90, a co-working space for young black folks interested in STEM. And he put it in that old Langendorf Bakery factory, smack dab in the Rollin’ 60s, about 10 blocks away from our Metaphor Club. He transformed the space. Created programming to provide opportunities he didn’t have, for people who looked just like him. You know, the things that would make a young black kid living in the Rollin’ 60s choose coding over slinging because you finally got a ******* choice like kids in other neighborhoods. But he wasn’t done yet. He then took an old fish market a few blocks over, right on Crenshaw and Slauson, renovated it and installed his clothing line, Marathon, the same spot where he was murdered Sunday. And that is a tragedy. Out here, in the last remnants of a disappearing black Los Angeles, when we talk about stopping gentrification, it’s not just about getting pissed over clueless white people jogging around South L.A. with tiny dogs and demanding shit. It’s not just throwing up a middle finger at people who tell us that our area is an ‘undiscovered gem.” Nah, that’s just the stuff that annoys us. The fight against gentrification is more about hoping that South L.A., denigrated for so long as the bastion of crime because it’s populated by black people who look like Nipsey and me, will someday be a safe place for the black people who both survive and thrive in it, and also want to be alive in it. Nipsey Hussle is a different generation than me. But we are the same. From the same neighborhood. With the same mentality about loving your own people by investing in your own people. And for that, I feel fine calling him a hero to this South Los Angeles community. Lawrence Ross is a writer, lecturer and author of the best-selling book, The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities.


“Bullets Ain’t Got No Respect ”


he title of one of his hit tracks is “Bullets ain’t got no name”, but on Sunday, March 31 at 3:20 in the afternoon when Nipsey Hussle was gunned down in the Crenshaw district, the truth, put more aptly, was “bullets ain’t got no respect”. No respect for what you’ve accomplished. No respect for the people who love you and the two young children who call you Daddy. No respect for the woman who mothered and nurtured you. No respect for the impact you’ve made and the good you’ve done. No respect for the homies who’ve had your back and partnered in your efforts to move forward. Not respect for how you’ve much you’ve overcome or sacrificed. No respect for the Stem center you set up to be a bridge for youth in the inner city and the Silicon Valley. No respect for the ideas you had on how to stop gang violence or the meeting you’d previously scheduled with LAPD chief Michael Moore and Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff to discuss them. No respect for your dreams and no respect for the legacy you’re leaving behind. The painful reality is that bullets do have names and faces and they belong to– more often than not–young black men like Hussle whose senseless deaths leave us shaking our heads and mourning losses the likes of which many of us will never emotionally recover. Fact is, according to a recent Boston University study, gun homicides drive down the life expectancy rates among young blacks nearly twice as much as their white counterparts. In a documentary produced by Hussle, the 33-year old L.A. native observed that none of us know who we are until we fail. Well, his death is a reminder of just how much we, as a society, have failed as it relates to the gang violence that has made Los Angeles the “gang capital” of the nation with more than 450 active gangs for a combined membership upwards of 45,000 individuals who in the last three years have accounted for over 16,398 violent gang crimes, including 491 homicides. Just as surely, it is a reminder of the work that needs to be done and hopefully, the motivation to do it. In the meantime, in what is another aimless tragedy, a life of promise was stolen and people all across the nation join South Central/Crenshaw area residents in mourning one of their own. One who gave back more than he was ever given. One who was blazing a trail or entrepreneurship for ex-offenders and gang bangers and one who was proud of the Crenshaw neighborhood he grew up in–a neighborhood, I, as well, have fond memories of growing up in. One can easily reckon that the Grammy-nominated rapper could not escape the sins of his past. “There was a level of ignorance and self-destructiveness in the narrative that was pushed on us through music in our generation,” he once said. “I see how damaging that

was, for myself included, and we’re all subject to the social pressure. I wasn’t above it. Each of us are impacted by what’s going on around us. For me, understanding the platform I have and who it speaks to, it’s about being strategic. We can’t stand on the corner with the bull horn and preach, that isn’t going to work. We have to be strategic and make an impact through influence. I wanted to redefine the lifestyle and what we view as important.” Truth is, growing up poor and in the streets as a member of the Rolling 60’s Crips, Hussle never expected to have success or a seat at the table. But once he did have that seat, he fully understood his obligation, writing in the Players’ Tribune: “I got an obligation to my community first, my family first, to hoods like L.A. all around the country who live for the culture. I have a duty to justify the seat that I’m sitting in. Nobody has any success on his own.” Indeed, Hussle was not only a visionary, but a man who knew that the best way to help his community was to invest in it. Not only did he own the Marathon Clothing Store he was gunned down in front of, but he also reportedly owned half of the stores in the strip mall it was located in. “In our culture, there’s a narrative that says, ‘Follow the athletes, follow the entertainers,’” Hussle told the L.A. Times in 2018. “And that’s cool, but there should be something that says, ‘Follow Elon Musk. Follow [Mark] Zuckerberg.’ I think that with me being influential as an artist and young and coming from the inner city, it makes sense for me to be one of the people that’s waving that flag.” At least part of that mission was accomplished, but what makes us all take pause is all that might have been if he had lived. The outpouring of affection from the Crenshaw/South Central community as well as from celebrities and fans from around the world reflect the respect those six bullets never had. He’d read somewhere that the highest human act was to inspire. To that end, the truest testimony of Hussle’s legacy will be the continued support of his efforts–from his businesses and music to the knowledge that in building black-owned businesses in our neighborhoods we are empowering the community he lived and died to save. Rest in power, Ermias Davidson Asghedom, aka “Tha Great Nipsey Hussle”. Keep the faith. (In closing, all you prayer warriors, please keep in your prayers, Pastor Xavier Thompson of Southern/St. Paul, who is like a younger brother to me, as he prepares for –and then recovers from– surgery this month, remembering that the prayers of the righteous availeth much.)


News Briefs

Community Mourns Death, Celebrates Legacy of Nipsey Hussle


he LAPD has made an arrest in the murder of local rapper and community hero, Nipsey Hussle. The alleged shooter, twenty- nine-year-old Eric Holder, and a yet to be identified woman who is seen on video driving him from the scene have both been brought into police custody. Holder was captured at the Bellflower Medical Center trying to check himself into the mental health facility when an employee recognized him and called the authorities. LAPD announced the arrest on Twitter saying, “Thank you to both our community for the heightened awareness/vigilance, and our partners at @LASDHQ.” Holder was seen on surveillance video walking up to a group of men standing in front of Hussle’s Marathon Clothing store located in the strip mall on the corner of Slauson and Crenshaw and engaging them in conversation before firing multiple shots. Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the hospital. While the homicide was initially reported as “gang related”, community leaders and sources close to the situation have asserted that the murder was a lone target and not part of a larger gang dispute. “It’s no gang violence, this is a targeted situation and it was not gang-related,” said long-time local social justice activist Skip Townsend at a news press conference. “There was no one gang member that came to target the Crenshaw and Slauson area. Nipsey made himself accessible, he did not run, he did not hide, he was here daily.”

Hussle’s posted a final cryptic tweet less than an hour before the shooting, which read, “Having strong enemies is a blessing,”-- possibly indicating that he knew trouble was brewing. The following evening, mass hysteria broke out at a candlelight memorial in the parking lot Marathon Clothing where hundreds of fans and south L.A. residents came to mourn the loss of the famed rapper, entrepreneur, philanthropist and community leader. While it is unclear what started the panic, the crowd of mourners soon turned into a frightened mob in a moment of mass panic. Police with riot gear and batons began forming containment lines to as emergency responders tended to the injured on the ground. Nineteen people were transported to the hospital, most with trample injuries, with at least two people suffering critical injuries. Los Angeles County District Supervisor Mark Ridley- Thomas released a statement urging his district to stay calm and seek justice, saying, "[Nipsey Hussle] was a father, businessman, entertainer, and inspiration to many. Our communities have lost too many young men and bright futures to the scourge of gun violence. For healing to occur, even from this terrible incident, justice must be sought through legal means, and community peace must be found." Ironically, the shooting occurred only a day before Hussle was set to meet with Chief of Police Michel Moore and LA Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff to talk about ways he could help kids and stop gang violence, which had spiked over the last few months.

“We’ve been working on the meeting for three months,” said Soboroff “All I know is that he seemed to have so many great ideas on his mind, and we are very receptive to community policing programs in at-risk areas. He wanted to help underserved youth and adults.” Beyond being a Grammy nominated rapper who began his career back in 2005 with a series of self-produced mixtapes, Hussle’s legacy will be enshrined in his dedication to giving back to his community and fostering change in the south L.A. neighborhood where resided. Among his accomplishments include opening the Vector 90 space and STEM center in the Crenshaw district, dedicated to bridging the gap between young talent from impoverished neighborhoods and the opportunities in places like Silicon Valley-- and contributing to the Hussle continued to page 28

State Leaders Kick Off $100.3M Census Push alifornia isn’t playing around in its effort to avoid an undercount in the 2020 Census. That determination was clear April 2 when the California Complete Count (CCC) office assembled a mixed group of stakeholders — advocates, state officials, legislative leaders and community members - to kick off an anticipated $154 million statewide public information campaign. The event was held exactly one year away from Census Day 2020. “California is determined to ensure we achieve a complete census count. We’ve started early and are committing more resources than any other state on a robust outreach and engagement effort to reach all Californians,” said Ditas Katague, Director, California Complete Count — Census 2020. “Our collaborative partnerships throughout the state will make a difference in 2020, which may be the most difficult Census count yet for California.” To reach the high mark its setting for itself, the CCC is encouraging ethnic media, community based organizations and other groups they are calling “trusted messengers” to apply for bids in a third round of funding as it finalizes its Census 2020 communication push. The office says the new contracts will be funded from a $22.9 million pot allotted to designated groups called Administrative Community Based Organizations in 10 regions of the state. The second source of L.A. Focus/April 2019



During the last national survey in 2010 alone, US Census field representatives missed nearly 800,000 Blacks across the country and overlooked roughly 7 percent of all Black children. Other racial and ethnic minorities have been similarly undercounted as well. funding, $26.6 million, will be channeled through county administrations. So far, the state has invested $100.3 million to support its overall Census outreach. Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed an additional $54 million in the 20192020 budget. Last month, during its second round of funding, CCC announced it selected California Calls, an LA-based community organization comprised of 31 local grassroots groups, to lead its AfricanAmerican outreach ahead of next year’s national Census. “My district and California as a whole have some of the hardest to count populations in the country, but we’re going to make sure everyone counts,” said Speaker of the California State Assembly Anthony Rendon who represents an electoral area in southeastern Los Angeles. “The Census is coming and it’s important. We all need to use our good reputa-



California Black Media

tions to remind everyone in every community to participate.” California Calls joined 13 other local community groups from across the state in the $4 million partnership with CCC. They are tasked with reaching out to ethnic minorities and other hard-to-count groups to ensure maximum participation. The US Census has always undercounted African Americans and the reasons are mostly economic. Correctly counting all the individuals in households with multiple or multigenerational families called “sub families” is a major factor. Other variables like families without permanent housing, incarceration, homelessness, homes without broadband subscriptions and low literacy can all come into play. During the last national survey in 2010 alone, US Census field representatives missed nearly 800,000 Blacks across the country and overlooked roughly 7 percent of all Black children. Other racial and ethnic minorities have been similarly undercounted as well. “I represent one of the most undercounted census districts in California,” said Assemblymember Reggie Jones Sawyer (D-Los Angeles). “It is imperative that we work to change the chronic undercounting of my district and many other disadvantaged communities throughout the state.” On March 29, CCC held a bidders’ Census continued to page 29

State Senator Holly Mitchell Introduces Bill To Protect Natural Hairstyles In The Workplace Senator Holly Mitchell’s legislation known as the Crown Act, or SB 188, which seeks to protect natural hairstyles in the workplace has cleared its first hurdle in potentially becoming law as it passed through the Judiciary Committee in the State Senate. The Crown Act takes aim at the “rampant source of racial discrimination with serious economic and health consequences” that are caused by workplace dress code and grooming policies that prohibit natural hair, including afros, braids, twists, and locks and “have a disparate impact on Black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter Black applicants and burden or punish Black employees more than any other group,” according to the Bill. If passed SB 188 would amend a section of the current government code that relates to discrimination in California and seeks to change “societal understanding of professionalism” that is “closely linked to European features and mannerisms.” “When I saw case after case of Black women losing court battles with regard to employment status and our natural hair, I took notice,” said Senator Mitchell. “This is an opportunity for us to educate our colleagues about what it means to a Black woman to have the competency and freedom to wear our hair in whatever state we choose, whether it be straight, braided, loc’ed, or bald.”

FBI Launches Investigation Into ‘Secret Deal’ Behind Dropped Charges Against Jussie Smollett The FBI is now looking into why the 16count felony indictment against “Empire” star Jussie Smollett for allegedly faking a hate crime against himself was dismissed by Cook County prosecutors without warning and with little explanation. Despite having the facts and evidence that State’s Attorney Kim Foxx believed, “could prove him guilty,” Smollett was released with a clean record after forfeiting his $10,000 bail and performing 16 hours of community service which prosecutors say was an “outcome based on the circumstances.” The decision was made by First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Magats after Foxx recused herself from the case due to her personal relationships with the Smollett family. Magats insists that the decision “didn’t exonerate him,” and that State’s Attorney’s office “stands behind” the Chicago Police investigation and the charges brought against him. Smollett could also face federal charges such as obstruction of justice, conspiracy, mail fraud or mailing threatening communications for allegedly sending himself a threatening letter with powdery substance to the “Empire” set in a previous incident. The decision will come from US Attorney of the Northern District of Illinois, John Lausch-- who was appointed by President Trump.

HeadToHead Is The College Admissions Scandal Really All That Surprising?


arlier this month, a $25 milpercent of legacy applicants, as lion fraud scheme which A System of opposed to six percent of non-legacy helped children of wealthy Meritocracy applicants, a nearly six-fold advanThat Never parents cheat their way into top tage. While over one-fifth of white Was universities was unearthed by US admits to Harvard were legacies in prosecutors. As part of the investigation recent years, only 4.8 percent of black into the scheme, dozens of well-to-do par- admitted students, seven percent of Latinx ents, including Hollywood celebrities, have students and 6.6 percent of Asian students since been indicted for paying millions of were legacies. Some 14 percent of dollars in bribes, arranging to falsify their Harvard's class of 2022 are children of children's college entrance exam scores, alumni, and over 29 and misrepresenting their athletic abilities percent have family to secure admission to elite universities by ties to the school. fraudulent means. Legacies are a signifiThe revelations caused shock and out- cant portion of other rage across the world, but they should not university classes have. One of the worst-kept secrets of such as Yale, PrinceAmerican education is that it is a rigged ton, the University of system stacked in favor of the wealthy, Southern California, who can buy the best education possible for and the University of David A. their children, and at the expense of those Notre Dame. Love without means, power or privilege. Opponents of diverWe all pretend the higher education sity and inclusion programs in higher edusystem in the United States is based on cation focus instead on affirmative action meritocracy. American mythology dictates for underrepresented students of color. that in the land of opportunity, all people Students for Fair Admissions has waged a can pull themselves up by their bootstraps, lawsuit against Harvard's affirmative work hard and achieve the American action program on the grounds that it dream. Yet, what can one possibly do if he advantages black and Latinx students at or she was born without boots? Those for- the expense of Asian-American students. tunate individuals who inherit resources, Racial justice advocates argue that a wealth, social capital and pedigree accu- cynical game of pitting various non-white mulated over generations enjoy a distinct- groups against each other and positioning ly unfair advantage over poor students, Asians as more deserving than other who must work while studying or take out brown or black students will only benefit exorbitant amounts of loans to pay for fees. existing systems of white privilege. In The U.S. is witnessing a student debt 2017, for the first time in its 400-year hiscrisis with a record $1.53 trillion in out- tory Harvard admitted a majority nonstanding debt - a figure which has more white class, and perhaps, that is part of than doubled since the end of the 2009 the problem for some. recession, and exceeds the nation's one trilIncreased economic inequality in lion dollars in credit card debt. As a result, America only exacerbates the economic young people are saddled with a fortune in segregation of schools and dims the debt they are unable to pay off with low- prospects of success for low-income chilpaying or non-existent jobs, forced for dren, who are funneled into underyears to forego buying a house, getting resourced two-year community colleges married or starting a family. rather than competitive four-year colleges. Wealthy students benefit from privilege Public primary and secondary educacompounded by more privilege, crowding tion in the US depend substantially on out the rest from university spots. Many property taxes for about one-third of its universities give preferences to legacy funding. Consequently, wealthier white admits, students with at least one parent enclaves have more in resources to devote who graduated from the institution - a pol- to their schools, and are able to carve out icy that overwhelmingly benefits privi- their own racially exclusive districts. leged, white candidates. As a report published by Brookings Harvard, my alma mater, accepts 34 Institution has noted: "Segregated housing Love continued to page 28

Headlines From Africa Botswana: Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi has made reducing extreme poverty is his government's priority and says he is working to lure foreign investors to the nation to create much needed employment opportunities. "I am aiming for the improvement of the living conditions of almost every citizen of this beautiful country," Masisi has said. Democratic Republic of Congo: Health workers are struggling to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus which has infected more than 1,000 people, killing two thirds of all those who caught it. The death toll stood at 639 as the outbreak entered its eighth month. Ethiopia: While Prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, has initiated a series of unprecedented economic and political reforms his first year in office, the biggest challenge is moving the economy from state-led to market-based growth while overseeing far-reaching political reforms. Ivory Coast: Cities and towns in the Ivory Coast, as well as several other African nations including Mozambique and Zimbabwe, have been plagued by water shortages in recent months, —manifestations of a global supply squeeze brought on by drought, population growth, urbanization and insufficient investment in dams and other infrastructure. Kenya: As part of his “Big Four development agenda”, President Uhuru Kenyatta is committed to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2022. Among the poorest in Kenya, just 3% have health insurance. Among the wealthiest, many who also have private coverage, this insured rate is 42% leaving the bulk of Kenyans uninsured. Liberia: A presidential memorandum from President Donald Trump gave hundreds of Liberians—who had been legally living and working in the U.S. for more than two decades —one year to settle their affairs before their status would be revoked and them no longer protected from deportation. With that year up, the pressure was on to save them before the March 31 deadline. Mali: The UN has dispatched human rights experts to central Mali to investigate a massacre of 157 villagers seen as one of the worst acts of bloodshed in the country. The attack, during which women and children were burned in their homes by gunmen, escalated a conflict between Dogon hunters and Fulani herders that left hundreds dead in 2018 and is spreading across the region.

he media is baring its rancid Now here's where this gets hard: Hit Pause teeth again. We have more My bet is that 98 percent of the Button on people whose lives we can people involved in this scheme are College now rip apart. In the latest frenzy of upper-middle-class white people. outrage and recrimination, the col- Admissions Their children, I bet, are mostly Outrage lective disdain and finger-pointing good people: involved in the comand "how could they-ism" of the media munity, good students. And the fact is colestablishment has fresh meat: the lege admissions are rigged against white wealthy, sometimes famous and some- and Asian students, who often have to times powerful parents who were involved have better test scores and better qualifiin a scheme to bribe cations to gain college admittance. and cheat to get their The reality in many of these universichildren into college. ties is that by the time you subtract preferLet me be clear: ences for minorities, athletes, children of What these parents donors and children of the well-connected, did is wrong. What the college admissions is a process in which coaches did is wrong. the only people seemingly "guaranteed" What the test-proctor spots are people who have the system cheaters did is wrong. rigged in their favor. It's clear from readBut let's also ing some of the emails that many of these Armstrong consider this: The parents were trying to "rig" a guaranteed Williams whole college admis- spot for their kid. sions system is rigged and wrong. Instead Think about this: Being on the board of of simply tsk-tsking these people who trustees of a college, donating $20 million allegedly illegally paid to help their kids, and talking to the college admissions offimaybe we should also consider why people cer about your kid or a friend's kid is legal. who seem to be otherwise good and Being a black student with lower test upstanding would be driven to engage in scores than other applicants and still getthis kind of behavior. ting special preference is legal. Being a The fact is the whole college admissions Hispanic student with lower test scores system is rigged in one way or another to than the average applicant and writing an give unfair advantages. It is rigged to give essay about the prejudice your family has preference to black students, even if their faced, playing to the sympathies of the parents are wealthy, their schools are com- admissions committee, is legal. All of it fortable, and their lives are privileged. It is plays to getting a special advantage in rigged to give preference to athletes. It is admissions. And all of it is legal. rigged to give preference to Hispanic stuWhat these parents did was clearly illedents who write admissions essays (read gal. It is not justifiable. It is wrong. But for by liberal college admissions officers) argu- anyone who has ever loved their child, it is ing that their family has been oppressed. It understandable. I'm not justifying their is rigged to give preference to people who behavior, but I understand it. If you love can donate $20 million to a school, have a your kid, wouldn't you do anything for building named after their family or have them? And when you look at a system that "helpful" calls made on behalf of their chil- is so clearly rigged, why wouldn't you try to dren when they apply. rig it in your kid's favor? Is any of that fair? It's easy to blame the parents. And they Parents love their children. They want should be blamed. But let's also not let the to do right by them. Most parents would colleges completely off the hook. gladly give their lives for their children. Everyone knows that the system Believing that admission to a particular they've set up is rigged. So, let's unrig it. college is crucial for their child's success – Make all admissions blind. Instead of or imagining that it is the fulfillment of a names on applications, substitute anonydream – these parents looked at a system mous numbers. No information should be that is, by any fair account, rigged to favor included about race or gender. No contact a few, and they tried to make their chil- should be allowed between rich, well-condren part of those few. nected donors and college admissions offi-


Williams continued to page 26

A look at current news from the continent of Africa Mozambique: The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Mozambique in September. The theme "Hope, Peace and Reconciliation" with an image of a dove featured on the logo for the trip to Mozambique is meant to symbolize the peace the country seeks to hold onto after years of civil war. Namibia: The Namibian economy is expected to rebound from recession this year and grow by as much one percent, finance minister Calle Schlettwein announced. Niger: Niger’s top court has outlawed the practice of keeping women as maids and sex slaves known as “fifth wives,” capping a decade-long legal battle by one victim that could inspire others in the West African nation to seek justice. The “fifth wife” custom — also known as wahaya — is when in addition to the four wives permitted by Islam, rich men take on other, unofficial wives who live as domestic and sexual slaves. Rwanda: The Rwandan government has stepped up measures to reduce the effects of natural disasters, according to Rwandan minister of emergency management Germaine Kamayirese. The measures include the relocation of residents living in high-risk zones across the country, the use of early warning systems and calling on the Rwanda Red Cross and other partners to invest more in disaster prevention. Tanzania: Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan is urging East African Community member countries to invest in digital technology to accelerate implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Hassan said digital health technology also stood a better chance of strengthening regional healthcare services and addressing all aspects of poverty. "We can no longer ignore the direct correlation of poverty and social vulnerability in aggravating poor health," she said. Zambia: Lands and Natural Resources Minister Jean Kapata reports that the government is in the process of formulating the national land policy which will make it difficult for foreigners to own land. Instead, officials want to extend land ownership to Zambians while curbing the practice of foreigners acquiring huge chunks of land, then demarcating it and re-selling to Zambians.

GERALD BELL Contributor

n 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 59 births in the United States — twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 — and almost 1 in 54 boys. When working mother, Stephanie Brown, noticed that her son was around twelve to 14months of age before he began to walk she detected something wasn’t right. She also observed that other points of development such as his speech were not only delayed but weakly executed. She sought medical attention from the family pediatrician, who made referrals to see specialists for speech neurology and orthopedic care. By age two they launched into full assessments for her son although it would be two years later before he was officially diagnosed with autism. “Specialists were saying let’s just watch him because everyone develops differently,” Brown recalls. And while her son was getting physical therapy and speech therapy, these services were not addressing a specific diagnosis nor was it a source of active intervention. “We hoped that things would progress, so we continued with the recommended care,” she said. Exercising her own intervention, Brown formed a legal team to advocate for her son to receive specialized support and education which led to obtaining contracts with academic and developmental resources outside their school district. In addition, Brown and her husband had to use their personal funds because their insurers didn’t cover the services their son needed at that time. “I knew that I wouldn’t have a fight through the district,” she said. “So, I had to do the evidence-based research myself.” Brown’s son is now 23-years old and has proven that with the appropriate attention, a major difference can be seen in a child’s development. Still, her family had to ensure that every deficit her son faced, intellectually and physically, was receiving individualized intervention and much of it at their own expense. Ironically, the spotlight on autism has resulted in opened opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve families facing a lifetime of supports for the individual with autism. In June 2014, researchers esti-

L.A. Focus/April 2019



mated the lifetime cost of caring for an individual with autism is as great as $2.4 million. According to The Autism Society, there are estimates that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism. (This figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, related therapeutic services and caregiver costs.) All of which makes it daunting for African Americans who don’t have the means. The American Public Health Association also published a report paralleling the association between socioeconomic status and prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The findings suggest that in the U.S. autism might be under-identified and under-treated in low-income children. It further stated that when services are available, the wait time is often very long—due to a lack of highly qualified trained clinicians in lower income communities. What’s more, African American children are as much as five times less likely to receive early intervention services than their white counterparts. That was something Dr. Pamela Hubbard-Wiley found out first-hand while embarking on a career in speech pathology in the 70’s with the L.A. Unified School District and being part of a groundbreaking Individualized Education Program) team. “When we went to certain communities more was given, while other communities got less,” observed Wiley, who quickly realized that the best way for her to tackle the inequities was to go into private practice. Today, the L.A. Speech and Language Therapy Center she founded–and currently serves as president of–is a leader in providing comprehensive treatment to children with ASD, has been working to make a significant impact on the lives of families with children who have been diagnosed with autism and other speech-language related disorders. Being that Wiley was the first African-American speech language pathologist to go into practice in the Los Angeles area, she is a consummate authority on speech pathology, autism and children with special needs. Her Culver City-based Wiley Institute has not only flourished, but expanded to four locations, including early intervention programs in Maywood and Lawndale. “It’s a real affirmation that what we are doing is right,” Wiley says. “Thousands of children have passed through this program and while I allow research to

As a professional, I am disheartened when I encounter families who have had years of substandard services provided by poorly qualified individuals. Those working with your child need to be asked the following: What are your professional credentials as it relates to autism? What are the credentials of people who will be working with my child?

Areva Martin surrounded by kids from her Special Needs Network inform me, I never allow it to limit me, testing the boundaries of what they are able to do and to let people know what autism can look like. Everything we’ve done with these kids has exceeded my expectation.” It is a sentiment echoed in the testimonies of grateful parents like Lisa Anderson. “My son walked in their doors 16 years ago at age three without being able to formulate anything longer than a two-word sentence. Today, he is an eloquent speaker.” Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects verbal and nonverbal communication. Impaired social interaction is a hallmark feature of the disorder. “I can't stress enough the importance of early diagnosis and access to quality treatment which can begin as young as 18-months of age,” says Wiley. “Diagnosis is usually made around 2-years of age although early signs may be present around 12-months.” Wiley noted that what’s not always known among lower income families is that early intervention services are available for infants and toddlers 18-months to 3years. “This is a critical period in your child's development because the neural fibers of the brain are most responsive and flexible during the first five years of life.” And while a higher percentage of white children were identified with ASD compared to black children and even more so compared to Hispanic children, these differences were smaller when compared with estimates from previous years. These reduced differences, experts believe are due to more effective outreach directed toward minority communities and efforts to have all children screened for ASD. Today, the costs for even having a child evaluated for autism can start at $5,000 according to CNN legal commentator and TV personality Areva Martin, who is a leading advocate for autism and founder of the Special Needs Network, Inc. a California based autism advocacy organization. Martin’s agency has actively played a key leadership role in advocating for state and federal laws to eliminate disparities in state funding for individuals with disabilities. Through a variety of media related platforms, her Special Needs Network promotes social justice, equality, and dignity for children with disabilities. “We want to ensure we have highly culturally competent providers, psychologists, clinicians and nurses to address the issue of access in our community and to address the information deficits and access deficits,” says Martin, who is steering the opening of a new clinic on the campus of the Martin Luther King Hospital in Los Angeles. “Traveling 20 to 25 miles outside your community can be prohibitive.” For Martin, the mission is all too personal. When her son Earnest Martin III, known to his family as Marty, was about 18 months old, Martin noticed that he was wasn’t using language the way his two older sisters had at the same age. She also noticed that Marty would often isolate himself from others. Concerned, she reached out to other parents for advice. “I started asking friends and family what they thought and I got really good positive reassurances that there was nothing wrong. And that’s comforting, because

Pam Wiley with students at the Wiley Center

who wants to hear that there’s something wrong, but my gut, my intuition, told me that as much as I wanted to believe these people, that there was something more because it just wasn’t the speech.” Most disheartening to Martin was the lack of answers she found in seeking help and worse still, there was no decisive plan of action. But it was when she was told her child might not speak, that she took things into her own hands. Recalls Martin, “I took the attitude I’ve taken throughout my life. In school, it was ‘Well, okay, I may be poor, but I can study harder than you can study and I can go to the same schools or better than you can go to.’ My approach with my son was the same. ‘Okay, well, you tell that kids with autism may never talk. No, my son is going to talk’. “Sadly, there is a fear and stigma in the African American community when it comes to being diagnosed with autism Martin continues. “Don’t allow that fear to prevent you from getting intervention,” she exclaims. “There is no harm in knowledge. It could be the difference in your child making tremendous progress. It makes a world of difference in an autistic child’s life when they are diagnosed at age two rather than age seven–a difference in how that child matriculates to a general education campus or obtaining critical independent skills like using the bathroom on their own, and their ability to gain language”. According to Martin, experts recommended a standard regimen of intensive early intervention care that should be conducted while a child’s brain is most mailable between ages two to six. And although there is much information available online, Wiley insists that “the most reliable way to access information is to get involved.” “Parents need to attend meetings, be prepared, ask questions and do their homework,” Wiley argues. “Our African American parents are often not seen as equal partners in their child's educational plan which results in people who may or may not have a vested interest in your child's well-being making decisions based on their beliefs, their experience, and sometimes their convenience which oftentimes is the quickest and least expensive option.” April is the month when World Autism Awareness Day takes place. During the month both Wiley and Martin are taking advantage of the time to educate and inform parents in the community about early diagnosis, intervention options and the 21 regional centers in the state of California that are responsible for providing services free of cost to individuals with developmental disabilities which includes autism. “As a professional, I am disheartened when I encounter families who have had years of substandard services provided by poorly qualified individuals,” laments Wiley. “Individuals working with your child need to be asked the following: What are your professional credentials as it relates to autism? What are the credentials of people who will be working with my child? “Good people can have good intentions but if they're not professionally trained to work specifically with children with ASD, they cannot possibly be as effective.

Education, degrees, training, and lost time matters.” The L.A. Speech and Language Therapy Center is a non-public agency contracted with various public school districts while also working closely with the Westside Regional Center, South Central Los Angeles Regional Center, Lanterman Regional Center, and Inland Valley Regional Center. Celebrating 40 years of service, L.A. Speech and Language Therapy Center’s breadth of knowledge enables them to continue services to and has afforded them a unique opportunity to develop a continuum of innovative effective programs and to grow as children grow. “We are not new to the game or our community, having spent our first 10 years on Stocker and Crenshaw,” said Wiley who also recommends that parents solicit the support of a good speech-language pathologist because their vision or lack of, will define a child's outcomes. “We need to be knowledgeable about our rights as a parent as well as services needed and how to access them,” Wiley says. “We need to be relentless when it comes to our children.” L.A. Speech and Language Therapy Center’s provide services in English, Spanish, Japanese, Farsi Urdu/Hindi, Tamil and Sign Language. Martin’s Special Needs Network will host programs during the month of April such as a community hot topics forum, a Tools for Transformation event and the ground-breaking ceremony of a new clinic. New and more sophisticated research is underway that Martin hopes will mean increased discovery about how the African American community can know more and do more when it comes to early diagnosis and intervention of autism. “Our children are a part of every aspect of our community,” Martin says. The Special Needs Network is hitting the mark as a game changer in Los Angeles when it comes to autism. They are touching elected officials, funders and even mobilizing parents through their training and telling the story of those effected by ASD. On the national scale, the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM) is committed to continued monitoring of ASD prevalence to determine if the narrowing of racial and ethnic differences in children identified with ASD continues. This helps both states and communities develop and evaluate targeted strategies to increase awareness and improve identification of ASD in African American communities. The reduced differences in ASD prevalence for black children relative to white children may be due to more effective outreach such as what Wiley and Martin are offering in LA that are and directed toward minority communities and the efforts to have all children screened for ASD. “Historically we have not been involved in some of the studies,” Martin observes. “There is a battery of tests that are conducted in the natural and home environment to determine if a child has autism. It is critical that African American families know the information, access highly qualified providers, get accurate diagnoses and access to early intervention services leading to a better outcome for our children.”

1. Intense struggle with ordinary activity. 2. Extraordinary sensitivity 3. Extreme lack of sensitivity

4. Repetitive actions 5. Unusual attachment to objects 6. Aloofness 7. Communication struggles

8. Fixations 9. Self-Injury 10. Obvious delays in development

L.A. Focus/ April 2019

10 Common Signs often Associated With Autism


MoneyMatters Lawmakers Seek Tighter For-Profit College Oversight


The turmoil in the forprofit college industry has affected California as much as any state, with the closures of major chains leaving thousands of students deeply in debt, their educations on hold. Mean-while, the state agency in charge of regulating private colleges and vocational schools has struggled to enforce California law. Now lawmakers and agency officials are seeking to tighten oversight of the troubled sector. A package of seven bills unveiled today by Democratic state legislators would make major changes to the standards for-profit colleges must meet to operate in California. One proposal, AB 1340, would bar schools from enrolling California students in programs designed to prepare them for careers if their debt after graduation rises above a certain percentage of their incomes. It’s based on a “gainful employment” rule adopted by the Obama administration and since delayed by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The rule aimed to hold schools accountable for their promises to provide students with a path to a stable career. “The story is commonplace–students taking out thousands of dollars of loans to enroll in a career training program they have been led to believe will lead to a job, only to discover they’ve got themselves in a horrible financial hole with no return on their investment,” said the Assemblyman David Chiu (San Francisco). A previous attempt to enact a California version of the gainful employment rule failed. But that was before California joined 17 other states in suing over the rule’s delay, and DeVos announced her intention to repeal it altogether. About 160,000 California students attend degreegranting for-profit colleges, with many more studying for a career at one of the state’s for-profit vocational schools. Those numbers include 10 percent of black undergraduates, according to a recent study by the Campaign for College Opportunity. They also include veterans who use GI bill money to pay for both tuition and living expenses. Another bill by Assemblywoman Susan Eggman of Stockton would prevent colleges from using GI bill funds to rely more heavily on taxpayer money than federal law otherwise allows. A third, AB 1344, would expand the number of state rules that out-of-state colleges enrolling California students in online programs must comply with. A staffer at the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools, which represents many of the

On the Money


CALmatters state’s for-profit colleges, said no one was available to comment by press time on the legislative push. Chiu said he was inspired to work with colleagues on the issue after an investigation last fall by CALmatters and The Sacramento Bee that found California’s Bureau for Postsecondary Private Education often failed to enforce state laws designed to prevent predatory recruiting and other abuses at forprofit schools. The bureau was inspecting schools less than half as often as California law requires, the investigation found, and had a backlog of nearly 1,200 unresolved student complaints, many of which had been pending for years. Some students said their complaints of fraud had been dismissed with little explanation. This month, the bureau’s parent agency, the Department of Consumer Affairs, announced it had created a special five-member task force of current and retired investigators to reduce the backlog. The bureau will also be reorganized, with its current enforcement chief transferring to an administrative role and a new special investigator with experience in complex investigations hired to oversee complaints, said spokesperson Matt Woodcheke. The reorganization “was a long time coming, and we hope that moving forward, the bureau is much more well-positioned to serve the needs of students in California,” he said. Bureau staff said they had reduced the complaint backlog by about a quarter since November–though it’s unclear whether that was due to staffing changes or to the bureau’s decision to close out pending complaints if a student did not respond quickly to a letter asking if they wished to continue their case. Attorney Megumi Tsutsui, a member of the bureau’s independent advisory committee who also represents students in fraud cases, said she hoped the new attention would lead to more thorough investigations. If lawmakers pass AB 1340 and Gov. Gavin Newsom signs it, California would be the first state in the nation to establish its own gainful employment rule. At least some of the responsibility for enforcing the rule would likely fall to the bureau. Chiu said he and his colleagues would be monitoring the bureau’s evolution closely. “At this time when our students are being defrauded and victimized, we need the bureau to step up,” he said. CALmatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.

White Schools Receive $23 Billion More In Funding A new report has found that school districts serving mostly non-white (predominantly black and Hispanic) students get $23 billion less annually than those serving predominantly white populations, even though they serve the same number of children. The report, “America’s $23 Billion School Funding Gap –released by EdBuild, a nonprofit think tank focusing on education spending–has found California, New York and New Jersey to be among the worst offenders. Seven million kids are enrolled in high-poverty nonwhite districts in states that provide less funding, on average, to those systems than their high-poverty white counterparts. White school districts averaged revenue receipts of almost $14,000 per student, while nonwhite districts received just $11,682 making for a divide of over $2,200, on average, per student. The difference in funding in California is $2,390 for the approximately 3,860,192 students in poor nonwhite districts. Worse, of the 12 million students living in concentrated nonwhite school districts, over 10 million are enrolled in states where their districts are funded at lower levels than their white counterparts. Almost all states rely on property taxes as a driver of school funding, but fifteen also include locally raised sales taxes, six permit locally governed income taxes, many have state lotteries, and just over half of all states employ a solely student-based formula–while the rest fund schools based on some other system. Because our school district borders determine who gets to keep this money, how the boundaries are drawn has a significant impact. Still the study found that a student living within the geographic boundaries of a primarily white school district in the United States has a resource advantage over those enrolled in a heavily nonwhite system, regardless of geographic location or wealth. The economic differences between our communities mean that the very White base of our Non-white school funding system will always be inequitable, and the imbalance of both economic and political capital across races means that inequitable funding will bias even further against heavily nonwhite student populations.

Biz News Briefs With Magic Johnson's support, Denny's has created an online and multifaceted program to accompany their Breakthrough Leadership Training and Development Program which is focused on creating and developing careers. "Partnering with Magic is such a natural fit," said John Dillon, Vice President/ Chief Brand Officer at Denny's. "His business acumen and commitment to building diverse workforces aligns well with our passion for supporting the communities we serve. Denny's looks forward to visiting several communities in which we will provide job opportunities and information about careers in the hospitality industry. Johnson's assistance will help us reach a broad audience to share skills and insights that will help them grow." “Denny’s is doing this right,” Johnson said in a statement. “Magic Johnson Enterprises has always been focused on developing programs that create jobs and

L.A. Focus/April 2019

Denny’s Partners With Magic Johnson


careers in the areas in which we invest. I look forward to participating in Denny’s recruiting and training efforts and I am proud to support their team.” Earlier this year, Denny's teamed up with the basketball great turned business mogul on a regional menu in southern California with healthy tips from Johnson.

Serena Williams To Invest in Women of Color “I’ve learned how impactful one woman’s voice can be when given a platform to speak and be heard. I am passionate about building on this progress and opening doors for women of all backgrounds, especially women of color, to share their message and trust in their potential to accomplish great things,” Serena Williams said in a statement announcing her partnership with the Austin-based Bumble Fund to invest in startups focused primarily on businesses founded and led by women of color, providing access to experts, how-to guides, and more. “By joining forces with the Bumble Fund, we will continue amplifying female entrepreneurs and creating a place for them to champion their growth.”

One United Celebrates Black Women With “Queen Card” Last month, OneUnited Bank, the nation’s largest black-owned bank introduced its “Queen Card”. The card–a Visa debit card with the image of an iconic black woman from history– is part of the bank’s Royalty Campaign, celebrating “a new generation of Queens in

America who are claiming their thrones. “In almost every sector, Black women reign!” read an official statement from the bank. “Some of the most important political and civil rights leaders have been Black women such as Harriet Tubman, Shirley Chisolm and Angela Davis,” the statement continued. “Some of the most important artists and entertainers have also been Black women, such as the late Queen of Soul (Aretha Franklin), Queen Bey (Beyoncé), Queen Latifah, Q.U.E.E.N. Janelle Monae, Nobel laureate Toni Morrison and of course Oprah Winfrey. And from 2007 to 2018, the number of businesses owned by black women grew by a stunning 164%.

Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” Is Best-Selling Book of 2018 Looks like Penguin Random House’s reported $65 million deal is paying off as former First Lady Michelle Obama’s debut memoir, Becoming, has officially become the best-selling book of the year. The book, released in November 2018, sold 725,000 copies its first day and over 10 million copies to date. “We believe this could become the most successful memoir ever,” said Thomas Rabe, the chief executive officer at Bertelsmann, which owns Penguin Random House. "Becoming" is the first of two book deals from the Obamas with the second due from Barack Obama later this year.

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Upfront Extra Maxine Waters To White Supremist Haters: “Come For Me and I’ll Come For You” As part of her acceptance speech on receiving the Chairman’s Award at the 50th Annual NAACP Image Awards, Congresswoman Maxine Waters delivered this warning to ultra-right wing, white supremacist haters who have threatened to kill her along with her family and staff: “Come for me and I’ll come for you.” Just last month, two men, Ceasar Savoc and Stephen Taubert–both white supremacists– were convicted in federal courts for threatening to kill

Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Taubert was found guilty by a federal grand jury after calling Rep. Waters’ Los Angeles office in July 2018, stating, “I’m gonna be at every event that stupid f*****g n****r b**** is at and I’m gonna kill that f*****g b**** and all you stupid f****** n****s that work for her.” He also threatened former President Barack Obama in a separate call. Taubert was convicted for three federal charges: influencing, impeding, or retaliating against a federal official; making a threat in interstate commerce; and, making a threat against a former president of the United States. The jury also found that Taubert selected his victims because of race, which provides an enhancement under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines for hatecrime motivation.” He faces up to twenty years in prison for the three convictions. Sayoc — who drove a van covered in pro-Trump images —pled guilty in federal court for mailing potentially explosive devices to Rep. Waters’ Los Angeles and Washington, DC offices, and to the offices or residences of 12 other Democratic elected officials,

“I am pleased by the identification, arrest, and conviction of the men who threatened me, my family, and my staff in support of their racist, white supremacist, and hate-filled agenda. Let these convictions be a lesson to all those who would threaten to kill or cause bodily harm to us: you will be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

private citizens, and media figures. He was held without bail after being charged in 65 counts including illegal mailing of explosives with intent to kill and using weapons of mass destruction. He faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison. “I am pleased by the identification, arrest, and conviction of the men who threatened me, my family, and my staff in support of their racist, white supremacist,

and hate-filled agenda,” Waters said in a statement. “Let these convictions be a lesson to all those who would threaten to kill or cause bodily harm to us: you will be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” The Sayoc and Taubert convictions follow those of Anthony Scott Lloyd, Richard Mel Phillips and Christopher Hasson. Lloyd pled guilty in April 2018 to threatening Rep. Waters in a voicemail, during which he stated “What you said at your little faggot conference, if you continue to make these threats towards the President, you’re going to wind up dead, Maxine, because we will kill you…You can call the FBI, you can call the NSA, you can call whoever the f**k you want and report this…. B****, do it again, you’re dead.” Hasson, a Coast Guard Lieutenant, was charged in February 2019, for plotting to kill Rep. Waters, several Members of Congress, and television anchors. Following his arrest, federal agents found 15 firearms, including seven rifles, and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his home in a suburb of Washington, D.C. Noted Waters, “Unfortunately, these types of violent threats — and other acts of hate — by ultra right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world. This disturbing trend is only made worse by the violent rhetoric and bullying tactics of the current President of the United States.”

Game Changers:


Koshie Mills: Bridging The Gap Between African Americans and the African Diaspora fter two decades of successfully navigating the entertainment business for her three sons-- Kofi Siriboe (“Queen Sugar”), Kwame Boateng (“Everybody Hates Chris”), and Kwesi Boakye (“Claws”)-- and launching her own PR agency and production company, media maven Koshie Mills is now focusing her efforts on bridging the gap between Africans of the continent and the descendants from across the Diaspora with her primetime talk-variety show “The Diaspora Dialogues”. “I created “The Diaspora Dialogues” platform so we can connect to correct the cultural divide between Africans from Africa and African-Americans, AfroLatinos, Afro-Caribbeans, and AfroEuropeans. Our intention is to create a better understanding of our different experiences but shared identities to bridge the gap,” says Mills. “The Diaspora Dialogues”, which debuted in 2018 on The Africa Channel, allows Africans to engage in a series of intimate conversations in a talk show format where entertainers, influencers and change agents get a chance to facilitate a cultural exchange that fosters empathy for the purpose of uniting the global descendants of Africa. Among the celebrity guests that have appeared on the show are British born Grammy-award winning musical artist Estelle, actress and UN Youth Ambassador Monique Coleman (“High


African Americans don’t necessarily want to commune with Africans because they think, ‘every one of you guys thinks you’re a prince or king-- they’re arrogant.’ And Africans are like, ‘Americans are lazy, when we come here, we get it done-- why are they still here struggling.’

School Musical”), Nigerian actor Chiké Okonkwo (“Being Mary Jane”), and more. “The emphasis for “The Diaspora Dialogues” is for black people to see each other not as a monolithic experience, but as a vast global experience,” says Mills. Her own trans-continental life experiences have made her uniquely qualified to facilitate the discussion. “I’ve experienced life on both continents,” says Mills. “Living in America, coming from Africa and educated in England, I’m the perfect person for this project because I value all three continents and understand the angst on all levels which helps to really understand the nuance of how to bridge the cultures gap.” According to Mills, part of the challenge of uniting the different peoples of African descent is decompacting the different misconceptions we have of each other. “We’ve brought our own stories about each other,” says Mills. “African Americans don’t necessarily want to commune with Africans because they think, ‘every one of you guys thinks you’re a prince or king-- they’re arrogant.’ “And Africans are like, ‘Americans are lazy, when we come here, we get it done-why are they still here struggling.’ “So, my conversation is to help people understand that, without them-- there is no you. If they didn’t sit on the bus and not get up, you wouldn’t have the opportunity to come to this country and get what you got. There’s a lot of conversations that

need to be had because we’ve brought these stories that have been perpetrated upon us.” Fortunately, thanks to the popular global success of movies such as “Black Panther”, an interest has peaked among people looking to unify the diaspora. “What I’m loving right now is that it’s a great time to be African,” says Mills. “‘Black Panther” came out and blew the door open for curiosity about Africa. African Americans went to “Black Panther” and came out feeling great about themselves and where they came from. It’s helped both the continent and here because people are now looking at Africans not as sub-par-- they look at us now with pride. That’s been a real saving grace. They hadn’t felt proud about Africa in a long time because of the media showing us all of the negativity, like, ‘oh, its poor and they don’t have enough water’.” With “The Diaspora Dialogues” Mills is trying to continue this positive progression and inspire the younger generation to return to their roots and create one united people. “I want to see our millennials and the young generation come back to Africa in force-- visit the land and understand the cultures,” says Mills. “I want them to not see Africa as a country, but as a continent with various traditions. “My ultimate goal is for every African descendant to connect with each other and Koshie Mills continued to page 21

Through the Storm


s a single mother who started multimillion-dollar business out of her kitchen with little more than a revolutionary idea and the teamwork of her sister/business partner, Miko Branch has seemingly defied all odds. But the path to success required Branch, owner and co-founder of Miss Jessie’s hair care products for naturally curly hair, to overcome failure and persevere through the most difficult challenge of all-- the loss of her sister and co-founder Titi Branch. “They say that people who operate at high levels, also struggle at high levels,” Branch tells L.A. Focus of Titi who passed away in 2014 of an apparent suicide. “Titi was so many things at one time-- she was beautiful, smart, kind-hearted and a leader. But she struggled from the mental illness of depression. “Losing Titi was like losing a part of myself,” says Branch. “Titi was not only my business partner, but my best friend-- my everything.” Miko and Titi worked as a team from day one, with Miko as the creative hair stylist and Titi handling the business end of things-- they created an innovative product and grew Miss Jessie’s into a national brand which led the natural hair style revolution of the past decade. Their styling product filled a need that was all but vacant-- allowing women with curly, kinky, and wavy hair of all types to style their hair with ease. While their business’ rise has been steady, the idea for the product came at a moment when the sister’s future was anything but secure-- in fact after a misstep as the sisters had just lost their business. The Curve Salon, which Miko and Titi had worked so hard to open together went out of business after they decided to move into a larger space with higher overhead, without first having the clientele to make up the difference. “We had experienced so much success in a smaller place, but we didn’t have the plan that we needed to make it work at our new location,” admits Branch. “Business makes you square off with reality. Particularly if you want to stay in business-- you don’t have the luxury to do what you think you want to do.” The sisters pushed on, taking their inventory and loyal clients to the home salon they operated out of their brownstone townhouse in Brooklyn, New York. It wasn’t much, but they were just able to pay their mortgage and stay afloat. Miko–then a single mother to a newborn son– had creeping anxieties of how to spend time with her child and provide for him by running a business. “In failure, there’s a lot of wisdom,” says Branch. “I have become more efficient with my time. Providing for my son became very important to me and I also wanted to be in his life-- so if you wanted to get your hair done by me, you had to come to me.” It was in figuring out the work-life balance between taking care of her child and handling her clients that gave Miko the jolt of inspiration. While she was bathing her son one evening, Miko realized she could simply no longer continue wearing her hair

straight. “I had to embrace my texture and wear my hair curly because I was always getting splashed,” t e l l s Branch. “And you k n o w w h a t your

hair does when water hits. It goes out in every direction! Ironically, when my clients saw my hair, it started a conversation. They’d ask, ‘how did you get your hair that way?’” With that, the sisters knew they were on to something. They began to cater to women with curly hair and when market research revealed that there were virtually no products on the market designed for maintaining and styling naturally curly hair, the Branch sisters saw set out to become experts on curls, kinks and waves. “It wasn’t enough for me to know how to style it,” says Branch “Titi became somewhat of a chemist and took to our kitchen table trying out different recipes the way we learned to do at our grandmothers house as kids.” Growing up, the Branch sisters spent their summers with their grandmother, Miss Jessie Mae Branch, who would concoct all sorts of different mixtures and formulas at her kitchen table. The experience was crucial for Titi

It’s been four years now and it still feels raw. It’s the heartbreak of all the daily reminders-- I see Titi in every jar, every billboard. I don’t know where I got the strength, but I didn’t have the luxury to give up. I stayed focused on the fact that I built a profitable business and all I had to do was stay the course. I didn’t want to lose my mind. as she experimented with different formulas for their new product-- which they would name after their beloved grandmother. After two long years of trying to perfect their formula, the Branch sisters unveiled their first product-- Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding. The sisters first began sampling the product on their salon floor to customers who in turn, would share the product with other, eventually creating a demand for the product. “We created this cottage industry and moved our production from the kitchen to the basement.” The official release of their product was in 2004 and they started making sales largely online where discussions in chat rooms helped spread their presence through word of mouth. “Thank God for the internet,” says Branch. “We got to the point where we couldn’t make the product fast enough because we started getting online orders.” Their big break came in 2009 when the sisters closed a distribution deal with Target which got them national exposure. While Branch has enjoyed the success of Miss Jessie’s, and all the new challenges that comes with it, moving on without her closest friend has been the biggest difficulty of them all. “It’s been four years now and it still feels raw,” says Branch on the loss of Titi. “It’s the heartbreak of all the daily reminders-- I see Titi in every jar, every billboard. I don’t know where I got the strength, but I didn’t have the luxury to give up. I stayed focused on the fact that I built a profitable business and all I had to do was stay the course. I didn’t want to lose my mind. “It still feels new to me, but I realize that I’m blessed for the time I did have with her and that she groomed me to be able to carry on. She is with me.” After all of her successes, failures and heartbreaks Branch has learned to rely on her faith to lead her in reassurance that everything is going to be alright. “Faith has played a huge part in my development as a woman,” says Branch “I had to learn how to not worry about things, to understand that God has my back and I’m not alone. That He orders my steps. So today, I’m less fearful and a bit more confident in my faith that everything is going to be okay. I know He’s with me and that


Calendar of events

Ongoing On Stage: Lackawanna Blues (Thru April 21) Starring Ruben SantiagoHudson $30-$105• Check showtimes Mark Taper Forum 135 N Grand Avenue Tickets: (213) 628-2772 CenterTheatreGroup.org Exhibit: California Bound: Slavery on the New Frontier, 1848 - 1865 (Through April 28, 2019) Free (Parking = $12) California African American Museum 600 State Drive Contact: (213) 744-7432 http://caamuseum.org Soul of A Nation: Art In The Age of Black Power (Through September 1) General Admission: Free Advance Reservation: $1218 • Open Tues - Sunday 221 S. Grand Avenue Info: (213) 232-6200 www.thebroad.org

Wednesday, April 3 On Stage: Alvin Ailey’s Dance Theater (Through Sunday April 7) Check show times • $34 and up Dorothy Chandler

Pavilion 135 N. Grand Avenue musiccenter.org

Saturday, April 6 Tribute to Billie Holiday featuring Corky Hale and Freda Payne 8:30PM • $25+ Dinner or two-drink minimum required Catalina Jazz Club 6725 West Sunset Blvd Contact: (323) 466-2210 www.catalinajazzclub.com 5th Annual San Diego Soul Music Festival Featuring Keith Sweat, Stephanie Mills, Next and Maze w. Frankie Beverly 7:30PM • $42 - $250 Valley View Casino Ctr 3500 Sports Arena Blvd San Diego Contact: (619) 224-4171 Sister Nomic$ A financial literacy program presented by the 100 Black Women Lunch is provided Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Torrance 21333 Hawthorne Bl Torrance Info: (424) 285-6948

Sunday, April 7 Forgiving For Living’s 12th Annual Plus Awards

L.A. Focus/April 2019

Thandie Newton was the lady in red at the 50th Annual NAACP Image Awards in Hollywood on March 30.


ow Ray J sh ood and elody, at rw o N e v Lo ,M Princess dorable daugher Awards. a hoice C s off their id K deon’s Nicklelo

& Auction Honorees include: Honorable Diane Watson, L.A. Fire Dept Battalion Chief Richard Fields and L.A. Focus Publisher Lisa Collins Hosted by Wendy Gladney 11am — 2pm • $150 + Four Seasons Hotel 300 S. Doheny Drive Contact: (951) 313-4732 Annual Star Eco Station’s Children’s Earth Day Featuring celebrity guests, live performances, exotic wildlife, eco-friendly games and rides 10am - 4pm • Free Star Eco Station 10101 Jefferson Blvd, Culver City (310) 842-8060 childrensearthday.org Workshop: Fabric Power – Make Your Own Statement In Fabric Ages 7 and up Free (Parking = $12) California African American Museum 600 State Drive Contact: (213) 744-7432 http://caamuseum.org

37th Annual Pastoral Anniversary Honoring First Lady Togetta Ulmer Special Guests: Pastor DeAndre Salter & Bishop Neil Ellis (Also Sunday, April 14) Faithful Central Church 321 N. Eucalyptus Avenue Info: (310) 330-8000 Faithfulcentral.com

Thursday, April 11 On Stage: Will Downing With Keith Washington 8PM • $40 - $150 Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center 1935 Manhattan Bch Blvd Redondo Beach thenextepisodeconcert.com

Wednesday, April 10

Friday, April 12

Workshop: Free Help With Clearing Criminal Records Free • 5:30pm — 8pm L.A. Law Library 301 West 1st Street (Call (800) 399-4529 to be pre-screened) lalawli-

On Stage: Cedric The Entertainer 9PM • $59 - $69 Morongo Casino Resort 49500 Seminole Drive Cabazon 92230 Contact: (800) 252-4499 morongocasinoresort.com

Saturday, April 13 In

Byron Allen

EVENT SPOTLIGHT Thursday, April 18 46th Annual Whitney M. Young Awards Gala Honorees include Byron Allen and LeadersUp CEO Jeffery Wallace Keynote Address: Lonnie G. Bunch, NMAAHC $1000 • 6PM 6801 Hollywood Blvd (@Highland) Contact: (323) 299-9660 www.laul.org/wmyj

Sterling K . Brown a Michelle nd wife, R Bathe lig yan ht up the the 50th A red carpet nnual NA at ACP Ima ge Award s.

mourous owed off her gla Maxine Waters sh ACP Image NA e th at et rp side on the red ca th the e was honored wi Awards where sh d. Chairman’s Awar


Tracy Ellis Ross turned heards when she arrive at the NAACP Ellis turned heards ImageTracy Awards in Ross this black and when she number. arrive at the NAACP white Image Awards in this black and white number.

Stars Lupita Nyong’o, Evan Alex, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Winston Duke attend the New York City premiere of “Us”

Concert: The Temptations $38-$68 • 9pm The Rose 254 E. Green Street Pasadena 91101 wheremusicmeetsthesoul.com L.A. Times Festival of Books (Thru Sunday, April 14) Featuring Exhibits, book signings, seminars and kid’s activities Free • Parking: $10 USC Campus latimes.com/festivalofbooks In Concert: Eric B. & Rakim 8PM • $15-30 The Novo 800 W Olympic Blvd Info: (213) 765-7000 www.thenovodtla.com Special Needs Network’s 5K Walk/Run/Family Fun Features healthy snacks, family resources, games, free health screenings, Zumba and crafts 8AM — 11AM • Free Kenneth Hahn Park 4100 S. La Cienega Blvd Info: (323) 291-7100 Snnla.org

Continental Breakfast, Lunch, Swag bags, College & Resource Fair Exhibitor Expo, workshops on everything from self-esteem and hair to college readiness Keynote Speaker: Miss Diddy, The Brand Group President & CEO 7:30AM — 3PM • $10 - $15 Pasadena City College 1570 E. Colorado Blvd Pasadena www.yaawc.com Care’N Ministry Presents the Unlocked Conference Keynote speaker: Pastor Shep Crawford Noon — 4PM • $35-40 Faithful Central (Living Room) 400 W. Florence Avenue

Sunday, April 14 Dance Sundays with Debbie Allen Attend a free Flamenco dance class taught by Debbie Allen Free • 12pm -2pm Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts 9390 N. Santa Monica Bl Info: (310) 746-4000 www.thewallis.org

Monday, April 15 In Concert: Pusha T 8PM • $34.50 The Novo 800 W Olympic Blvd Info: (213) 765-7000 www.thenovodtla.com Policing Los Angeles: Race, Resistance & the Rise of the LAPD Speaker: Professor Max Felker-Kantor Noon — 1:30 PM • Free USC Doheny Memorial Library dornsife.usc.edu

Wednesday, April 17 In Concert: Ella Mai 8PM • $29.50 and up The Novo 800 W Olympic Blvd Info: (213) 765-7000 www.thenovodtla.com Gloria Hendry Bond Lady Jazz Tribute to “Songs of James Bond” 8:30PM • $25+ Dinner or two-drink minimum required in addition to tickets The Catalina Jazz Club 6725 West Sunset Blvd Contact: (323) 466-2210


Friday, April 19 Live: Tower of Power $38-$88 • 6pm The Rose 254 E. Green Street Pasadena 91101 wheremusicmeetsthesoul.com

Saturday, April 20 93.5 KDAY Presents Krush Groove with Bone ThugsN-Harmony, Ice Cube, Mack 10, Warren G, Too Short, DJ Quik, Tha Dogg Pound and more 7PM • $40 - $175 The Forum 3900 W. Manchester Blvd Contact: (310) 330-7300 www.fabulousforum.com In Concert: Tower of Power with Average White Band 8PM • $90 - $115 Cerritos Center of the Performing Arts 18000 Park Plaza Drive Cerritos 90703 Cerritoscenter.com

8:30PM • $25+ (Dinner or two-drink minimum also required) Catalina Jazz Club 6725 West Sunset Blvd Contact: (323) 466-2210 www.catalinajazzclub.com

Saturday, April 27 Legacy Ladies 14th Annual Torch Awards honoring L.A. Urban League President Michael Lawson 5:00pm • $250+ The Ritz Carlton Hotel 4375 Admiralty Way Marina Del Rey Info: (818) 414-5074 Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz Festival (Thru Sunday, April 28) Performers include Joe, Anthony Hamilton, After 7, Raheem DeVaughn, Lenny Williams and more $105+ Government Amphitheater 500 Grand Central Pkwy Las Vegas www.yourjazz.com

around los angeles Young African American Women’s Conference 2019

Maury Philli PHOTO CREDIT:

Actresses Wendy Raquel Robinson, Jackie Appiah (of Ghana) and Melinda Williams at the International Women of Power Luncheon. PHOTO CREDIT: Maury Phillips

Live: Miki Howard With Tony Terry (Through Saturday)

In Concert: TLC 8PM • $49+ Pechanga Resort & Casino 45000 Pechanga Parkway

15th Annual Freestyle Festival Sunday Featuring performances from Vanilla Ice, Taylor Dayne, Cece Peniston, Lisa Lisa, Jody Watley, Sugar Hill Gang, Color Me Badd and more 8PM • $44 - $230 Microsoft Theater 777 Chick Hearn Court Info: (213) 763-6020 www.microsofttheater.com Bounce Back Conference Presented by Family of Faith Christian Center 11AM — 2PM • $25 345 East Carson Street Long Beach Info: (562) 595-1222

Thursday, May 3 Inglewood Ministers 36th Annual Prayer Breakfast Keynote speaker: Pastor K.W. Tulloss 7:00am-9:00am • $35 Proud Bird Event Center 11022 Aviation Blvd Info: moderatorprov@yahoo.com

iles as her date for Tia Mowry was all sm oice Awards was her Nicklelodeon’s Kids Ch rdrict. Ha e Cre , son

Multi-Cultural Motion Picture Association President Gail Gibson presents award to actress Judy Pace at the recent Lady In Red Diamond Rose Aw ards.

L.A. Focus/April 2019

eives the ROAR Tiffany Haddish rec tional Women of Award at the Interna rina Del Rey. Ma in Power Luncheon ps

Friday, April 26

Temecula 92592 Tickets: (888) 810-8871 Pechanga.com


RedCarpet Style

DANAI GURIRA was Wakanda ready in this Rosi Assoulin dress

ISSA RAE was radiant in this yellow sleeveless Oscar de la Renta

The fashion couldn’t have been more on point on the red carpet when the stars turned out for the 50th Annual NAACP Image Awards on March 30. Here are some of our favorite looks.

STORM REID was spot on with this sheer Georges Chakra Couture

LUPITA NYONG’O rocked the red carpet in a Giambattista Valli dress

KiKi LAYNE is a vison of loveliness in a Georges Chakra Couture

Eye On Gospel

Jonathan Reynolds Is Big Winner At The Stellar Awards Eight was the magic number for Jonathan Reynolds who was the top winner at the 34th annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards. The Chicago-based artist took home eight awards including “Artist of the Year” for his 2018 release, “Make Room”, featuring the hit single, “Not Lucky”, which was named “song of the year”. McReynolds also scored top honors in the “contemporary male vocalist”, “producer of the year” and “contemporary CD” categories. It was also a big night for Jekalyn Carr, whose One Nation Under God CD earned her “Female Vocalist of the Year”, “Traditional Female Vocalist of the year”, and “Traditional CD of the Year”. Other big winners include The Walls Group (“Group/Duo of the Year” and “Contemporary Group/Duo Artist of the Year) for their CD, The Other Side; Jabari Johnson–named “New Artist of the Year” for his “Day of Redemption”; Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson (“Traditional Group” and “Quartet of the Year” with his Keep Pushin’ CD; and Bishop Noel Jones Sanctuary Choir, who scored two awards –“Choir of the Year” and and “Traditional Choir of the Year”– with theirCD, Run To The Altar. Vashawn Mitchell was named “Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year” with his CD, Cross Music. Tasha Page-Lockhart was named “Contemporary Female Vocalist of the Year” for her The Beautiful Project CD. “Praise and Worship CD of the Year” went to Todd

Dulaney for his chart-topping CD, “Your Great Name” and Fred Hammond pocketed “Special Event CD of the Year” for “The Best of Fred Hammond”. Legendary gospel singer Delores Washington Green of The Caravans received the Dr. Bobby Jones Legends Award while Stellar Honors Hall of Fame Inductees included Jackie Patillo (Dove Awards), James Robinson, Jr. (Malaco Gospel) and Phil Thornton (RCA Inspiration). Highlights of the two-hour long program–which will be telecast on BET April 19–include a posthumous allstar tribute performance to the undisputed Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin by Kelly Price, Regina Belle and Erica Campbell “It was 35 years ago when Aretha performed ‘Precious Lord’ on my very first Gospel Music television special ‘Living the Dream,’ Stellar Awards Executive Producer and Founder, Don Jackson shared. “In recognition of Aretha’s roots in Gospel Music and her continuing love for the genre, I am delighted that our executive committee agreed to present her with our ICON Award posthumously and continue to present the award forever in her name as the Aretha Franklin ICON Award.” Kirk Franklin returned to host the live taping at Las Vegas’ Orleans Arena, featuring performances by Brian Courtney Wilson, Charles Jenkins, Jekalyn Carr, McReynolds, Koryn Hawthorne and Todd Dulaney. Presenters included Anthony Brown, Yolanda Adams, DeVon Franklin and JJ Hairston.

LeAndria Johnson To Quit Gospel Music? It was nine years ago that Sunday Best season three sensation Le’Andria Johnson exploded onto the gospel music scene and soared to the top of the gospel charts with The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson. She went on to receive a Grammy in 2012 and to record four additional top ten charting CDs. But today it is not her music that is keeping her in the public eye. Instead, it is her personal life that has spiraled out of control, landing her on a recent episode of

Iyanla Vanzant’s OWN TV show, Fix My Life, during which she confessed that she no longer wanted to sing gospel music. “I can’t even minister to myself, let alone [being] obligated to minister to somebody else,” Johnson said. Presently wearing a court-ordered ankle monitor, Johnson admitted that she had been struggling with a drinking problem that was only curbed after a recent 30day stint in jail. She received encouragement from Kirk Franklin, who shared, “Your voice is phenomenal, but your story is even greater and I want you to believe that there are no accidents, no coincidences with God. So now you are going to be a steppingstone of somebody getting better.”

Briefly: William Murphy new album Settle Here, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart. The CD marks the second consecutive #1 debut for Murphy, following his 2016 album, Demonstrate…Six gospel artists will have the chance to become a gospel music star on a new reality program called “The Gospel” where contestants compete for a national management contract with T.D. Jakes’ Dexterity Sounds and Marquis Boone Music Group. The winner will be announced with the opportunity to perform at the International Pastors & Leadership Conference in Tampa on April 25. The show is executive produced by T.D. Jakes and hosted by Darlene McCoy. The program will air beginning March 10 exclusively on Jakes’ online streaming platform with behind the scene videos, messages and content…. Kirk Franklin is set to host the 2nd Annual Exodus Music & Arts Festival on May 26 withl special guests Fred Hammond, The Clark Sisters, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Kelontae Gavin, VaShawn Mitchell, and Travis Greene. In partnership with Live Nation, the gospel music festival will take place on May 26 in Irving, Texas. For more information go to @exodusmusicandartsfestival.

INSIDE HO L LY W OOD with Neily Dickerson “Best of Enemies” Taraji P. Henson is burning up the silver screen showing the varied styles of her acting chops. She kicked off 2019 with the comedic hit, “What Men Want,” and this month returns in the true story of two individuals who start on opposite ends of life’s spectrum and end up an unlikely pair of friends. Appropriately titled, Best Of Enemies, Henson plays civil rights activist Ann Atwater opposite Academy Award winner, Sam Rockwell, as Ku Klux Klan member, C. P. Ellis. Here’s what happens. Set in Durham, North Carolina during segregation, the school for black children catches on fire and need a place to continue their education. Talks of bringing the children (black & white students) together in the same class,

begin and the community is divided. Atwater and Ellis are selected to participate in a desegregation summit to determine what will happen. A Department of Education representative Bill Riddick (Babou Ceesay) invites Atwater and Ellis to participate in a “charrette,” –a negotiation that will help the community determine the best way to proceed for all involved. The two are not only asked to partici-

pate, but because of the influence each has within their community, they are asked to co-chair the committee. This leads to several life lessons for both parties as they discover that people–no matter the race–have more in common than not. Henson and Rockwell are surrounded by a stellar cast that includes, Anne Heche, Bruce McGill and John Gallager. It’s hard to believe in 1971 that schools were still separate. The messages woven throughout the film continue to resonate in our nation and world today. “Best Of Enemies” is a must see for all families and would be a great teaching tool. It is a timeless tale of life lessons we teach one another when completed to see ourselves through a shared lens.



Native Son April 6 “Black Panther” Wins Big at 50th Annual NAACP Image Awards

Celebrating 50 years of recognizing black excellence in film, television, music and literature, the NAACP Image Awards broadcast their starstudded event from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood for the first time. Big winners of the night included “Black Panther” with eight wins including Outstanding Motion Picture, director Ryan Coogler for Outstanding Director in a Motion Picture, and Outstanding Ensemble Cast. TV’s “Black-ish” took away five wins including Outstanding Comedy Series, and series star A n t h o n y Anderson-- who also doubled at the event’s host-- for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. Music’s royal couple each took home an individual award with Beyoncé being honored as Entertainer of the Year and Shawn “JayZ” Carter being presented with the prestigious President’s Award. Additional winners included Congresswoman Maxine Waters who was presented with the NAACP Chairman’s Award,

Little April 12

Breakthrough April 12

and radio host and personality Tom Joyner winning the Vanguard Award for groundbreaking work to increase our understanding and awareness of racial and social issues.

Tiffany Haddish Lands Netflix Show Seems fans can’t get enough of Tiffany Haddish who has three films in the works (two of which–“The Kitchen” and “The Secret Life of Pets 2”– are set for release later this year) and just recently inked a deal with Netflix to host Tiffany Haddish Present: They Ready. The show is a series of six halfhour stand up comedy specials featuring six comedians hand-picked by Haddish, who will exec produce the show along with Wanda Sykes and who believes that the industry often excludes women, people of color, and LGBTQ performers and as such wants to put this diverse group of comedians in the spotlight. “I am introducing six of my favorite comedians — in my eyes, they are superstars,” says Haddish. “The epitome of They Ready.”

Salt-N-Pepa and Gospel’s the Clark Sisters Land Lifetime Projects Ooh baby, baby, the story of legendary female rap unit, Salt-N-Pepa is heading to Lifetime for a miniseries that will detail how the onetime nursing students navigated their way into hip hop royalty and will feature some of their biggest hits, including “Push It”, “What A Man” and “Shoop”. The series will be exec produced by Queen Latifah along with Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton. Also on the docket is a TV feature on the phenomenal

The Intruder April 4/26

careers, heartaches and successes of the Clark Sisters who were inspired by their Mom, Mattie Moss Clark to become one of gospel music’s biggest acts. Aunjanue Ellis is set to play Moss Clark, while Christina Bell stars as Twinkie, Kierra Sheard as Karen, Sheléa Frazier as Dorinda, Raven Goodwin as Denise and Angela Birchett as Jacky. In other casting news: Courtney B. Vance is set to co-star in Will Packer’s forthcoming romantic drama, The Photograph, starring Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield. He’s set to star in the HBO drama Lovecraft Country, in which Vance, Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Jonathan Majors embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father and encounter the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters along the way…Selma star David Oyelowo will handle triple duties in The Water Man, directing, producing, and starring in the film centers on precocious young boy who, in order to save his ill mother (Dawson), runs away from home with a local misfit to find the legendary figure called the Water Man who has been said to have the power to cheat death. Rosario Dawson–who is presently dating presidential candidate Cory Booker, also stars. Oprah Winfrey will serve as an executive producer on the project. Briefly: With her recent headline topping interview with R. Kelly, Gayle King is on top at CBS News and just in time coincidentally to negotiate a new contract with CBS that could make for a big raise. It is being reported that while no new contract has been formalized, ongoing talks include her not only continuing on the CBS This Morning, but also other news shows and specials.

Q&A Lupita Nyong’o Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya Big Break: “12 Years A Slave” Current Projects: “Us”, “Little Monsters” Upcoming Projects: “Star Wars: Episode IX” l” Lupita Nyong’o was born in Mexico City, the daughter of a prominent Kenyan politician who moved the family back to Kenya at an early age. She got her start in the film industry as production assistant but turned heads after producing and directing the documentary film “In My Genes”. She then pursued her masters degree in drama from Yale, and soon after graduation landed her breakthrough role in Steve McQueen’s “12 Years A Slave”, for which she won an Oscar (Best Supporting Actress). She has since starred in several other blockbusters including “Star Wars Episodes VII & VIII”, “The Jungle Book” and “Black Panther”. She is an outspoken activist on issues such as sexual harassment prevention, historical preservation, and animal rights. Starring in Jordan Peele’s “Us” is the first horror film you’ve done in your career, what attracted you to that genre? Horror movies give us permission to be afraid in a world where you’re not often encouraged to be fearful. Fear is something that is suppressed. And it’s an emotion to be overcome. It’s never an emotion to just experience. And in horror films, we give ourselves permission to do that. We all get into a room, and we know what we’ve signed up for. We go through it together, and it’s cathartic. A lot of attention is drawn to you being a woman of color from Africa in Hollywood, what does that mean to you? I know being an African woman on a Hollywood platform is not something you see every day, and I feel how special that is and I respect it. I am here. I am happy to be here. I know this industry was not made for me. But I’m not going to apologize for being here. As an Academy Award winning actress who’s played lead roles in several hit films, how do you define success? For me, success equals longevity, success equals the luxury of choice. When I was in school, they were always preparing us for whatever came our way. We were not honing our skills at choosing what we wanted to act in, we were honing our skills at making a meal out of whatever little got thrown at us. That’s what the accolades that came with 12 Years gave me — they afforded me a choice. When did you first fall in love with acting? Performing little skits for our family gatherings and things like that. I got to play in a made-up world and we all got to take it seriously. I enjoyed that I was choosing my reality. It all started from that. From there I realised there was a seduction to it. How has the support you received from you family impacted your career? It makes a huge difference to have a father who champions you. My dad was a feminist before it was cool for men to be feminists–his father too in many ways. My father’s father married my grandmother in her late teens, and he had her go to school. All his girls went to school. All my aunts are extremely educated, leaders in their fields, incredible women. And my father came from that.

Koshie Mills continued from page 13

see themselves within each other as one. When we do that, we will do business with each other and not allow other continents to come in and control business with us.” Part of the inspiration for creating “The Diaspora Dialogues” came from her time representing African actresses with her public relations firm K3PR. Though she knew she had clients who were exceptional talents, she was hitting a wall when it came to getting exposure for them. “Some of the push back came even from our black publications,” says Mills. “They didn’t feel that the black American audi-

ence would be interested enough for them. Mills has made being a spokesperson for African culture a pillar of her career and holds the position of the official Ghanaian Ambassador for Film, Arts and Culture. Ironically, she got into the industry by chance after her boys-- who were ages five, seven and seven months at the time-- were discovered by an agent while the family was shopping at the Century City Mall. Within a month, her boys were booking commercial auditions which led to Mills managing their careers. After years of balancing auditions and shoots with school and extracurriculars, she was able to leave her nursing career and focus full-time on

managing her boys’ careers which had blossomed into television and film. Now Mills is focused on production with her company, K3 productions, where she acts as executive producer on many different projects. She also hosts her annual “International Women of Power Luncheon” which honors the work of powerful women from around the globe. In its second year, the star-studded honorees included actress Tiffany Haddish (“Girls Trip”), actress Ryan Destiny (“Star”), the First Lady Fatima Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, and actress Rosario Dawson (“Luke Cage”) among others.

First Lady Of Sierra Leone, H.E. Fatima Maada Bio received WARRIOR Award

ChurchNews Faithful Central Pastoral Anniversary Honors First Lady Togetta Ulmer


t is rare that a pastoral anniversary is devoted to honoring the First Lady of the church, but that is the case at Faithful Central where–for the month of April–the spotlight will be on First Lady Togetta Ulmer. “There certainly have been Women's Days and special days that honor First Ladies, but I am learning that a pastoral anniversary that focuses on the First Lady more that the Pastor himself, seems to be rare,” said Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, senior pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church. “In this case, I wanted the people God has placed in our House of Champions to have an appreciation for the woman who is my strength and inspiration. She is not the proverbial woman who is found "behind every great man..." She is the very greatness in this man. Special guests include Pastor DeAndre Salter and Bishop Neil C. Ellis, while the theme of the celebration–which kicked off on March 31 and concludes April 14– is “wind beneath my wings”. “God spoke to me through her at crucial cross roads in our 37-year journey at Faithful Central. If I swallowed my manly pride and checked my "I'm the pastor" ego; If I had listened to her more - especially in judging some of the characters of those around me - I would not have made some of the mistakes I made. After having failed miserably in the relationship department, she is the greatest demonstration of the forgiving redemptive love of God Who can literally "pick you up and turn you around..." God turned, changed and blessed my life through this amazing woman, Togetta Sharon Ulmer. She is the apple of my eye, the beat of my heart, the wind beneath my wings.” “I am overjoyed that my husband would even think about honoring me,” said First Lady Togetta Ulmer. “Hopefully this will set a precedent for the rest of the pastors to honor their first ladies at their churches.” In other local church news, pastors from around the city and across the nation turned out to support Southern St. Paul Senior Pastor Xavier Thompson as he prepared to go into the hospital for surgery this month. Participants in the three-hour long evening service included Bishops Kenneth Ulmer, Clarence McClendon, Wendell Davis and Darryl Brister; Apostles Beverly “Bam” Crawford and Carlos Malone, Drs J.B. Hardwick, Jamal H. Bryant, Claybon Lea and Pastors Welton Pleasant, Fred Price, Rodney Howard, K.W. Tulloss and Ticey Brown. The keynote speaker was Presiding Bishop Joseph W. Walker III. The program–dubbed a compassion service–was a statement of support for Thompson and his wife, First Lady Rinnita Thompson.

First African Methodist Episcopal Church, Pasadena 1700 North Raymond Avenue, Pas • Ca 91103 (626) 798-0503•admin@famepasadena.org• www.famepasadena.org Corprate Office: 4602 Crenshaw Blvd, Suite 2A, Sunday Worship Service: 5:30am Los Angeles, CA 90043 Church School: 10:00 am (323) 295-5571 www.agapela.org Wednesdays: • Sunrise Prayer Service: 5:30am Bishop Craig A. Worsham, • Hour of Power Bible Study: 10:30 am Founder & Senior Pastor • Sunset Prayer Service: 6:00pm Sunday School: 10:00am • Evening Bible Study: 7:00pm Morning Worship: 11:00am Third Saturday Bible Study: 10:00am Loving, Lifting & Liberating Humanity Through The Word Children Church 1st, 2nd, 4th Sunday: 8 & 11:00am Agape Church of Los Angeles Worship Center Consolidated Plaza: 3725 Don Felipe Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90008

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church of South L.A. 10905 S. Compton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90059 (323) 566.5286 Pastor Reginald A. Pope Sunday School: 9:30am Morning Worship: 8am • 11am Children’s Church: 11am (2nd/4th Sundays) Evangelism Training/Bible Study/Independent Prayer: (Mon): 7:29pm Mobile Prayer/Bible Study: (Wed) 11am Book by Book Bible Study (Wed.): 6:30pm

Bryant Temple AME Church 2525 W. Vernon Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90008 (323) 293-6201 • F: (323) 293-0082 Pastor Dwaine Jackson

God’s Faithful Disciple of Jesus Christ / Prayer Clinic & Deliverance Ministry P.O. Box 561368, Los Angeles,CA 90056 (323)293-7566 • www.gfdjc.org•gfdjc@att.net Dr. Ruby Cottle, Pastor & Teacher G.F.D.J.C Every Friday: 7:00pm -9:30pm Location: St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church 3901 West Adams Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90018

Grant AME Church 10435 S. Central Avenue • Los Angeles, CA 90002 (323) 564-1151 • F: (323) 564-5027 Rev. Dr. J. Arthur Rumph, Senior Pastor

Sunday School: 8:15am Morning Worship: 9:15 am Bible Study (Tues): Noon Pastor’s Bible Study( Tues): 6:00pm

Calvary Baptist Church 4911 W. 59th Street,Los Angeles, CA,90056 (323)298-1605•F: (310) 568-8430 • calvarybaptistla.org Rev. Dr. Virgil V. Jones Sunday Prayer: 8:30am Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Worship: 11:00am Wednesday Bible Study: 12:00pm & 7:00pm We are the Church on the Hill where the Light Shines Bright!

Christ The Good Shepherd Episcopal Church 3303 W. Vernon Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90008 (323) 295-4139 • F: (323) 295-4681 Rev. Joseph Oloimooja Sunday School: 10:00am Early Worship: 8:00am Morning Worship: 10:00am Mon. Centering Prayer/Meditation: 6:30pm Mon. Overeaters Anonymous: 7:00pm Wed. Bible Study & Eucharist: 7:00pm Wed. Alcoholic Anonymous: 7:00pm E: cgshepherd4041@sbcglobal.net Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship 2085 S. Hobart Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 Phone: (323) 731-8869 • F: (323) 731-0851 www.christianfellowshipla.org Pastor James K. McKnight Sun. Early Worship: 8:00am Prayer Meeting: 10:30am Morning Worship: 11:00am Wed. Afternoon Bible Study: 1:00pm Wed. Prayer Meeting: 6:00pm Wed. Evening Bible Study: 7:00pm View Pastor McKnight’s Sermons on YouTube Crenshaw Christian Center 7901 South Vermont, Los Angeles, CA 90044 (323) 758-3777 • F: (323)565-4231 • www.faithdome.org Apostle Price, Founder Sunday Service: 9:45am Bible Study (Tue): 11:00am & 7:00pm Tue. Night Children’s Ministry: 7:00pm Tue. Night Bible Study (Teens): 7:00pm Alcohol & Drug Abuse Program (Wed): 7:00pm

Reappointed to Grant AME Church Los Angeles Rev. Dr. James A. Rumph

Sunday School: 8am Worship: 9:30am Wed. Bible Study: 11:30am •6pm Grace Temple Baptist Church 7017 South Gramercy Place, Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 971-8192 Pastor Rodney J. Howard, Sr.

Sunday L.I.F.E Group: 8:30am Sunday Worship Service: 9:30am Wednesday Intercessory Prayer: 6:30pm Wednesday Night Bible Study: 7:00pm E-Mail: gtbcla@gmail.com

Grace United Methodist Church 4112 West Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 294-6653 • F: (323) 294-8753 • graceumc1@earthlink.net Rev. Dr. Cedrick Bridgeforth, Pastor • www.graceumcla.com Early Morning Worship: 7:45am Sunday School (all ages) : 9:45am Morning Worship: 10:45am Tues. Mobile Prayer: 6:15am Wed. Bible Study: Noon Follow us on Facebook Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church 5300 S. Denker Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 759-4996 Rev. DeNon Porter Early Worship: 8am Sunday School: 9:30am Mid-Morning Worship: 11am Radio-KALI 900AM: Sun. 11-Noon, 7-8pm KTYM 1460AM Sundays: 5:30pm Bible Study (Tues, Wed & Thurs): 7pm Holman United Methodist Church 3320 W. Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 703-5868 • www.holmanumc.com Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., Senior Pastor Sunday School: 9:30am(Youth) & 9:45(Adult) Sunday Worship: 8am and 11am Morning Worship: 11:00am Bible Study (Thurs.): Noon Sun. Radio: KJLH 102.3FM: 11:00am

L.A. Focus/April 2019

Gather, Grow,Go and Live The Gospel of Jesus Christ!


First AME Church (FAME) 2270 South Harvard Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 735-1251 • F: (323) 735-3353 • www.famechurch.org Pastor J. Edgar Boyd, Senior Pastor/CEO Sunday School: 10:00am Worship: 8:00am, 10:00am, Noon Teen Church (2nd Sundays):Noon,Allen House Wed. Prayer Service: Noon Wed. Bible Study: 7:00pm Radio: 10:30am on KJLH-102.3FM First AME is the oldest Black Church in the City

Living By Faith Fellowship Ministries Church Address: 8946 Sepulveda Eastway, L.A., CA 90045 Executive Office: 10925 Crenshaw Blvd,#107, Ing.CA 90303 (424) 313-7520 Bishop Horace A. Allen Sunday Worship(East): 8:00am Sunday School(West): 9:30am Worship Service(West): 11:00am Word Explosion(Wed/West): 7:00pm Prayer every Monday(West): 7:00am Service Locations (East: 7510 S. Vermont Ave,•Los Angeles,CA 90045 (West: 8946 Sepulveda Eastway•Inglewood, CA 90303)

Mount Moriah Baptist Church of Los Angeles, Inc. 4269 South Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90037 (323) 846-1950 •Fax: (323) 846-1964 Reverend Johnteris Tate-Pastor Sunday Church School: 8:00am Worship Service: 9:15am Baptist Training Union: 7:00am Tues. Bible Study/Prayer:Noon & 7:00pm

Mt. Sinai Church 3669 W. 54th St. Los Angeles, CA 90043 • (323) 291-1121 F: (323) 291-1133 • office@sinai.church • www.sinai.church George E. Hurtt, Pastor-Teacher Sunday Worship: 8:00am, 10:00am Noonday Prayer (Mon): 12:00pm Tuesday Night in the Truth: 7:15pm Noonday Bible Study(Wed): 12:00pm Radio: KKLA 99.5 FM (Sat): 9:00pm Please call for our Sunday School & Discipleship Schedule

One Church International 614 N. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036 (818) 763-4521 • www.onechurchla.org Sr. Pastor Toure’ Roberts Sunday Worship: 9:00am, 11:00am & 1:00pm Wednesday Midweek Service: 8pm www.Channel1Live.tv–View live streaming

Park Windsor Baptist Church 1842 W. 108th St. Los Angeles, CA 90047 (323) 756-3966 • RevTerrellTaylor@sbcglobal.net Rev. Terrell Taylor Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Bible Study Wednesday: Noon & 7:00pm Communion: 1st Sunday at 8:00am & 11:00am

Our Goal: To glorify God by winning more Christians and developing better Christians (Matt. 28:18-20)

Price Chapel AME Church 4000 W. Slauson Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90043 (323) 296-2406 • pricechapel@sbcglobal.net Rev. Benjamin Hollins Sunday Worship Service: 10:00am Sunday School: 8:30am Power Lunch Bible Study (Wed): 11:00am Praise & Worship Bible Study (Wed): 6:30pm

Southern Saint Paul Church 4678 West Adams Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016 (323) 731-2703 • smbc@smbcla.org Rev. Xavier L. Thompson, Senior Pastor/Teacher Corporate Prayer: 8:30am L.I.F.E. Groups: 9:45am Morning Worship Service: 11:15am Baptism & Communion (First Sunday): 4:00pm Pastoral Bible Study (PBS)Wednesdays:7:00pm North Campus: Worship Service: 8:00am 11137 Herrick Av • Pacoima 91331 (818) 899-8031 st.paul@smbcla.org •“Loving People Making Disciples”



with our


For information, call 310.677.6011 Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church 1300 E. 50th Street Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 235-2103 • F: (323) 235-3177 • www.mtzionla.org Dr. Edward V. Hill, II, Pastor Sunday Intercessory Prayer: 9:15am Morning Worship: 9:30am Children’s Church: 9:30am Sunday School: 11:30am Baptism: 2nd Sun. & Lord’s Supper: 1st. Sun. Tues. Pastor’s Bible Study: 6:30pm Wed. Noon-day Prayer: Noon New Antioch Church of God in Christ 7826 So. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90044 (323) 778-7965 Elder Jeffrey M. Lewis Sunday Early Morning Worship: 8:00am Sunday School: 9:30 am Morning Worship: 11:00am Tuesday Prayer and Bible Band: 11:00am Wednesday Bible Study: 7:30pm Wednesday in the Word: 7:30pm

Sundays: Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Wednesday Bible Study & Mid Week Worship: Noon & 7:00pm Prayer Meeting: 6:30pm

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church 2009 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 293-6448 • F: (323) 293-6605 Dr. Sylvester Washington Sunday School: 8:00am Morning Worship: 10:00am Tues. Bible Study: 11:00am Wed. Evangelism Class: 6:30pm First Sun. Holy Communion Service: 4:00pm www.pleasanthillbaptistchurch.org

Praises of Zion Baptist Church (“Praise City”) 8222 So. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90003 (323) 750-1033 • F: (323) 750-6458 Dr. J. Benjamin Hardwick, Sr. Pastor Early Morning Worship: 6:45am Educational Hour: 9:15am Mid-Morning Worship: 10:45am Wed. Bible Study: Noon & 7:00pm Sunday Morning Broadcast: 5:30am Live Streaming Sundays: 12:00pm http://www.pozlive.com

St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church 5017 S. Compton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90011 (323) 231-1040 • stmarkmbcofla.org Reverend Dr. Lovely Haynes, Pastor Sunday Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Sunday School: 9:30am Mon-Wed Corporate Prayer: 6:00 - 6:55 pm Monday Night Bible Study: 7:00pm Wednesday Noon Prayer: 12 Noon Wed. Exposition of Sunday School Lesson: 7:00pm

St. Matthew Tabernacle of Praise “The S.T.O.P.” 1740 West 59th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90047 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 56608, Los Angeles, CA 90056 (323) 291-1115 • F: (323) 293-0471 Rev. C.Barry Greene, Pastor Sunday Worship Service: 8:00am PrayerLine: (Tuesday & Wednesday): 6:00am WordLine (Tuesday): 7:00pm ( (712) 775-7031 Access Code: 814352108) E: thechurchstop@yahoo.com pastorcbgreene@aol.com St. Rest Friendship Baptist Church 709 W. Manchester Ave., Los Angeles, CA,90044 (323)752-6179•strestfriendshipglobal.net Rev. Torrey Collins, Pastor Sunday School: 9:00am Morning Worship:10:45am Bible Study(Tues):7pm Choir Rehearsals(1st & 3rd Wed.): 7pm

L.A. Focus/ April 2019

Paradise Baptist Church 5100 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90037 (323) 231-4366 Pastor Darryl Barnes Adult Life Sunday School Study: 8am Sunday Worship Servie: 9:30am P3 - Pray, Praise & Partake (Fri before 1st Sunday) Mission Bible Study(Wed): 12:00pm Women’s Bible Study(Thurs.): 7:00pm New Life Bible Study(Sat.): 9:00am

People’s Independent Church of Christ 5856 West Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90043 • (323) 296-5776


The Sanctuary Church of Refuge 888 S. Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90037 (323)519-2341 • Sanctuarycor@gmail.com Pastor Markees Williams Sunday School: 9:30am(Youth) & 9:45(Adult) Sunday Worship: 8am and 11am Morning Worship: 11:00am Bible Study (Thurs.): Noon Sun. Radio: KJLH 102.3FM: 11:00am

Weller Street Baptist Church 129 S. Gless St, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (323) 261-0949 • F: (323)264-6601 • www.wellerstreetlive.com Pastor K.W. Tulloss Sunday School: 8:00am Sunday Morning Worship: 9:00am Tues. Bible Study: 6:45pm www.wellerstreetlive.com “We have not walked this way before” Joshua 3:1-6

Peace Apostolic Church 21224 Figueroa Street, Carson, CA 90745 (310) 212-5673 Suff. Bishop Howard A. Swancy

In Carson

Sunday School: 10:00am Morning Worship: 11:45am Evening Worship: 6:30pm Wed. Noon Day Bible Class: 12:30pm Wed. Bible Class: 7:30pm

Gather, Grow,Go and Live The Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Trinity Baptist Church 2040 West Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90018 (323) 735-0044 • F: (323) 735-0219 Rev. Alvin Tunstill, Jr Sunday Worship: 7:30 & 10:30am Sunday Church School: 9:00am Radio Broadcast KJLH FM: 9:00am Wed. Prayer & Bible Study: Noon-7:00pm www.trinitybaptistchurchofla.org

Victory Baptist Church 4802 South McKinley Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90056 (323) 231-2424• Pastor Dr. W. Edward Jenkins Sunday School: 10:45 am Morning Worship: 9:00am Bible Study Wednesday:Noon Radio Sundays: KPRO 1570AM: 9:00pm

West Angeles Church of God In Christ 3045 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90016 (323) 733-8300 Bishop Charles E. Blake Sunday School: 8:00am & 10:30am Early Worship: 8:00am Morning Worship: 11:00am Evening Worship (North Campus): 7:00pm Wed. Mid-Week Worship: 7:00pm Sun. Radio Broadcast KJLH 102.3FM: 10am www.westa.tv

Lifeline Fellowship Christian Center In Altadena 2556 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, CA 91001 (626) 797-3585 • F: (626) 797-3233 • www.lifelinefcc.org Pastor Charles D. Dorsey Sunday School: 9:00am Early Worship (Glory Prayer): 8:00am Morning Worship: 10:30am Evening Worship (1st & 2nd Sun.): 5:00pm Wed. Bible Study: 7:00pm

Resurrection Church L.A. 1135 East Janis St., Carson, CA 90746 Office Address: 1143 East Janis St., Carson, CA 90746 (310) 626-4864 •www.resurrectionchurchla.org Pastor Joseph Carlos Robinson Worship Services: 8:00am & 10:00am Bible Study Tuesdays: 7:30pm

Citizens of Zion Missionary Baptist Church In Compton 12930 No. Lime Ave., Compton, CA 90221 (310) 638-0536 • F: (323) 636-2080 • www.citizensofzion.org Rev. Bobby Newman, Jr., Senior Pastor; Rev. B.T. Newman, Pastor (Pastor Emeritus) Sunday School: 9:00am Morning Service: 10:45am Wed. Mid-Week Bible Study: 7:00pm

Pastor Profile: Bishop Horace Allen Church: FBCV Worship Center/First Baptist Church of Venice How Long at Church: 13 years Hometown: Los Angeles Family: Wife Michelle, ten children (ages 26-45) How did you come to be a pastor? Here’s the short version. I was on crack cocaine and my [first] wife and I lost our place to stay and were on the street. I’d heard about this crazy pastor who had a mission–the Holy Ghost Outreach Mission who sheltered people. We went there and met him, but the mission part was full. I said, "Okay, sir, thank you," and I took my kids and my kids' mother and we started walking. He called me back and said, ‘For some reason the Lord is telling me to help you, but the only thing I can offer is the floor inside the church, and I said, ‘I'll take that.’ He gave us some covers and we stayed on. One day, I was cleaning the church to show my appreciation and I just started singing, ‘Yes, Jesus loves me’. The next thing I know I was asking the Lord to come into my heart. What had led you to the point of being homeless? My wife and I smoked up all the money. If you don’t pay your rent ... We cared more about smoking crack. Now was it at that mission that you began to pursue the ministry? No, I’d left there and joined Chapel of Peace Holiness Church under Bishop Edward Smith. I became a deacon and the Lord spoke to me in a vision and told me I was going to pastor. Mind you, I didn't know anything about pastoring other than what I’d seen, but He told me I was going to be one and after three years of being a deacon, I accepted my call. I went to New Mount Calvary Baptist Church under Dr. Leonie Dawson, where I stayed for 16 years and served as a minister on staff. Then I received a call to come to First Baptist of Venice.

L.A. Focus/ April 2019

Having been through all you’d been through, was there any guilt about all the things you’d done or a sense of unworthiness that you experienced in the process of becoming a pastor? Let me put it like this. The first thing I was guilty about and still feel guilty about is that I wasn't able to have a stable loving relationship in front of my children. I've given them everything that they could have. I've stayed there through the hard times. Even when their mother was gone, I was on the PTA Council, I was in the classes. I took care, you know, after I got recovery. I've always taken care of my children and


I would give my life for them, but the only thing I was guilty about from my life is not being able to give them a stable family life, –a mother and a father together. Were your parents religious? They weren't really all saved according to the way we know, but while my mother took us there, it was mostly my grandmother, Lucille Green, who kept me in church. But you made a left turn somewhere along the way to crack? Yes. I was a gangster for a while. I was a fighter…I was doing a whole lot, but I was always respectful. Was that because of the environment you were raised in? It was a dysfunctional home. My father was beating my mother. She finally divorced him finally. He died when I was about 26, and my mother went to heaven when she was 54. Now you’ve publicly mentioned that your mother actually pulled a gun on one of your brothers... She actually shot him… My mother raised five boys and two girls and back in the day, your parents told you ‘I brought you here and I'll take you out of here’. Well, my oldest brother was talking back one day, and my mama told him, ‘Give me your car keys’, and he called her a “B”. She said, "Oh, okay" and turned around and went in the house. She didn’t raise her voice, but she came back out, raised her hand and has a 38 Smith and Wesson. She proceeded to pull the trigger and I said, ‘Mama, don't, don't shoot my brother.’ The bullet caught him in the leg. My mama did not play. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the sale of the church’s Venice property, what happened? There was a vote to move and two people decided they didn't like it and tried to stop it by taking us to court. I'm a faith preacher. I don't care too much for rules other than winning souls. I didn't do a good job of maintaining records.. I've never denied that, but it’s because my priority was winning souls. What got you through that period? I had to stay prayerful. People were praying for me, but I kept pastoring. I didn't change anything. I didn't stop because there's too many souls out there. That's all I care about. You moved near LAX in an area surrounded by retail and a mixed/majority white communi-

ty, how’s it going? We have grown. The Lord gave us a plan and I'm very proud of what the Lord is allowing us to do through ministry. We are a ministry that deals with hurting people. God saved me for a purpose and the love that I have for people is just what it is. I'm going to do everything to help you because I'm tired of people talking about what the churches don't do. I don't care what color you are, what your sex preference is or what you're going through. I'm going to preach Jesus to you and love the hell out of you. You mentioned outreach services–what do they consist of? We have a transition shelter at 4601 Pickford and we just launched a feeding ministry. I'm very proud of that. We also have a print shop on Crenshaw. Given you've had a rough time of it in terms of having been on drugs, having been homeless, does that give you an edge when you're speaking to certain crowds or certain people? Most definitely. I wouldn't trade how I became a pastor for nothing in the world. Some people look back and say, "I would have done this or that differently. I'm glad God allowed my life to hit the skids the way it did because now I'm in it to win it. You probably get this question a lot, but what was that trigger that made you stop using drugs once and for all? The thing was I was living in the mission and I was still not clean. And so, one day as I was getting ready to hit the pipe, I looked Pastor continued to page 26

Greater Zion Church Family 2408 North Wilmington Avenue, Compton, CA 90222 (310) 639-5535 • (Tues - Thurs 10am -4pm)

Crusade Christian Faith Center 801 S. La Brea Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90301 (310) 330-8535 Bishop Virgil D. Patterson Sr.

Dr. Michael J. Fisher, Senior Pastor Sunday Worship: 8:00am|10:45am| 5:00pm Wednesday Bible Study: 12pm|7:00pm FB: GreaterZion IG: GZCFamily www.gzcf.us

Love and Unity Christian Fellowship 1840 S. Wilmington Ave, P.O. Box 5449, Compton 90220 (310) 604-5900 Fax: (310) 604-5915 Dr. Ron C Hill Sunday Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:30am Sunday Evening Worship: 6:30pm Bible Studies: Wed. 7:30pm & Sat. 9am Food for Your Soul Radio & Television Ministry: beblessedwebradio: Mon - Fri. 6:30am Church Channel: Tues. 5:30pm & Fri. 2:30pm

The City of Refuge 14527 S. San Pedro Street, Gardena, CA 90248 (310) 516-1433 Bishop Noel Jones

In Gardena

Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Evening Worship: 6:00pm Bible Study (Wed): Noon & 7:00pm BET/Fresh Oil (Wed): 7:00am

The Liberty Church 14725 S. Gramercy Place, Gardena, CA 90249 (310) 715-8400 Pastor David W. Cross Early Worship: 8:30am Morning Worship: 9am & 11am Children’s Church: Both Services Word Power Wed.: 7-8pm www.thelibertychurch.com

Atherton Baptist Church 2627 W. 116th Street Hawthorne,CA 90250 (323) 757-3113 • www.athertonbc.org F: 323-757-8772 • athertonbaptist@sbcglobal.net Pastor Larry Weaver

In Hawthorne

Sunday Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00 am Sunday Bible Enrichment Class: 9:45am Mon.-Thurs. Bible Study: 7:00pm Wednesday Bible Study: 12:30pm & 7:00pm

Victory Institutional Baptist Church 4712 West El Segundo Blvd., Hawthorne, CA 90250 (310) 263-7073 • www.vibconline.com Pastor Richard Williams, III Sunday Morning Worship: 9:00am Sunday Evening Worship: 6:00pm Wed. Mid-Week Worship: 7:00pm Bible Study Tuesday: Noon & 7:00pm

Bible Enrichment Fellowship International 400 E. Kelso, Inglewood, CA 90301 In Inglewood (310) 330-4700 • www.bamcm.org Dr. Beverly “BAM” Crawford Morning Worship: 9:30am Tues. Bible Study: 7:30pm Wed. Mid-Week Prayer: 5am, Noon & 7:00pm Wednesday Pathway: 7:00pm Thurs Bible Study: 10:00am Sat Marriage & Family Prayer: 7:30am

Blessed Family Covenant Church 325 North Hillcrest Blvd, Inglewood, CA, 90301 (310)-674-0303 • F: (310)-674-0303 • blessedfamilycovenant.org Rev. Wendy Howlett Sunday School: 8:30am Morning Worship: 9:30am Wed. Prayer & Bible Study: 7:00pm

Wed. Mid-Week Service: 7:00pm Sunday School: 9:00am Sunday Worship: 10:30am

Faithful Central Bible Church 321 N. Eucalyptus Ave. Inglewood, CA 90301 (310) 330-8000 • F: (310) 330-8035 Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, Ph.D. Senior Pastor/Teacher Services at The Tabernacle: Sunday Services: 7:00am, 9:30am & 11:45am Wed. Mid-Week Service: 7:00pm The Tabernacle is located at 321 N. Eucalyptus Ave., Inglewood www.faithfulcentral.com

First Church of God Center of Hope 9550 Crenshaw Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90305 (323) 757-1804 www.go2Hope.com Pastor Geremy L. Dixon Morning Worship: 8:00am & 11:00am Wed. Mid-Week Service: Noon Wed. Teaching Ministry: 7:00pm 1st Sunday Communion 5th Sunday Baptism

Jacob’s Ladder Community Fellowship, inc. 1152 E. Hyde Park Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90302 (866) 330-1702 • F: (310) 674-0760 Watchman/Shepherd Dr. Robert T. Douglas Sr. Sunday Fresh Start & Prayer 9:00am Sunday School: 10:00am Morning Services: 11:45am Evening Service: 7:00pm Wed. Lock & Load Prayer: 7:00pm Wed. Bible Study: 7:30pm 3rd Friday Youth Night: 7:30pm www.jacobladderschurch.com Southern Baptist Church of Southeast Los Angeles 1149 East 68th Street, Los Angeles, CA 9000 (323) 584-77 Rev. L.L. Lewis Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Worship: 11:00am Thurs.Prayer/Bible Studies:12:30pm &6:30pm Men’s Ministry-Sat. before 1st Sun.:10:00am Women’s Ministry-4th Saturday at 11:00am

New Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church 434 S. Grevillea, Inglewood CA 90301 (310) 673-6250 Office • (310) 673-2153 Rev. Dr. Phillip A. Lewis, D. D., D. Th., Senior Pastor Early Worship: 8:00am Sunday School: 9:30am Morning Worship: 11:00am Mid-Week Bible Study (Wednesday): 7:00pm Afternoon Bible Study (Thursday): 1:00pm

True Friendship Missionary Baptist Church 7901 South Van Ness Ave. Inglewood, CA 90305 (323) 750-7304 Rev. James A. Perkins Sunday School: 9:30am Early Worship: 8am Morning Worship: 10:45am Bible Adventure Hour (Tues): 6pm Bible Study (Tues): 7pm Bible Study (Thurs): Noon

Christ Our Redeemer AME Church In Irvine 45 Tesla, Irvine, CA 92618 (949) 955-0014 • F:(949) 955-0021 • www.corchurch.org Pastor Mark E. Whitlock, II Sunday Worship: 8:00am, 10:30am New Generation Praise Service: 10:30am Sun. Bible Univ.: 9:30am Tues. Interactive Bible Study: 7:00pm Wed. Pastor's Bible Study: Noon, 7:00pm Thurs. Bible Study: 7:00pm Fri. Singles Bible Study (1st Fri): 7:00pm

First Lady Files

Barbara Hendricks Church of The Living God In L.A. County, the wait for a kidney was ten years. Thankfully, for Church of the Living God First Lady Barbara Hendricks, that was not the case. Hendricks, whose high blood pressure diagnosis resulted in the need for dialysis and subsequently, a kidney transplant, waited just two years. “So you know God was good”, says Hendricks, who had the operation a year and four months ago. “I never stopped traveling. I never missed a church convention. I never missed a church service. God just took care of me.” Today, things couldn’t be better for Hendricks who has worked in ministry alongside her husband, Bishop Harry Hendricks, at the church for 23 years. “I love the challenge the Lord has put before me. I love the gift that he’s given me and the opportunity to be an ambassador to all of His children,” says the mother of three and proud grandmother. When she’s not traveling with her husband, who serves as Bishop of the twelfth episcopal diocese for the state of Texas, Hendricks teaches Sunday School, works with the women’s department and is a proud member of the First Ladies Health Initiative. While she counts all of her work important, there is one aspect of the ministry that she holds in the highest regard. “Soul saving. To see a large congregation is well and good, but are souls being saved? That’s the most important thing. I love doing what I can to enhance and advance the kingdom of God.” St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church 1720 N. Walnut Avenue, La Puente, CA 91744 (626) 918-3225 • F: (626) 918-3265 Pastor Tony Dockery

In La Puente

Sunday School: 9:30 AM Early Worship: 8:00 AM Morning Worship: 11:00 AM Spanish Service: 9:30AM Bible Study: Every Wednesday 7:00 PM www.stsbc.org

Antioch Church of Long Beach Mailing Address: P.O. Box 2291, Long Beach, CA 90801 website:www.antiochlb.com

In Long Beach

Pastor Wayne Chaney Jr. Sunday Worship Services: 10:00am Long Beach Poly High School 1600 Atlantic Avenue Long Beach, Ca 90813

Christ Second Baptist Church 1471 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave. Long Beach, CA 90813 (562) 599-3421 • Fax: (562) 599-6175 • www.csbclb.org Rev. Welton Pleasant II, Senior Pastor Sunday School: 8:30am Sunday Worship Service: 9:40am Wed. Bible Study: 7:00pm Wed Youth & Young Adult Ministry: 7:00pm

Family of Faith Christian Center 345 E. Carson Street, Long Beach, CA 90807 (562) 595-1222 • F: (562) 595-1444 Bishop Sherman A. Gordon, E.D. Min Sunday School: 8:00 am Morning Worship: 9:00 am

Gospel Memorial Church of God In Christ 1480 Atlantic Ave. Long Beach, CA 90813 (562) 599-7389 • F: 562-599-5779 • gospelmemorial@aol.com Bishop Joe L. Ealy Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Worship: 11:00am Evening Worship: 6:30pm Wed. Intercessory Prayer: 7:00pm Wed. Pastoral teaching adults: 7:30pm Wed. Youth Ministry Boot-Camp; Youth Bible Study: 7:00pm & Choir Rehearsal: 7:30pm

From the Pulpit of: Agape Church of Los Angeles “In Pursuit of the Good Life” In today’s materialistic society, for some the “American dream” is to pursue what is called “the good life.” This usually means owning your own home, having a couple of cars in your garage, taking nice vacations, and retiring to a comfortable life of doing whatever you like. The rich and famous– who supposedly enjoy this good life–are splashed across the pages of magazines and the screens of televisions so that we all can vicariously enter their lives and dream about striking it rich ourselves. But while many Americans who are financially comfortable may have achieved “the good life,” most of them have missed the abundant life Jesus promised to all who follow Him. So what is the abundant life? Many who follow the “prosperity gospel” have just baptized the materialistic American dream with some Christian labels. But the abundant life Jesus promised has nothing to do with collecting more stuff. Instead, it has everything to do with being right with God through faith in Christ and having the hope of eternity spent in His presence. The apostle Paul wasn’t rich in this world’s goods, but he enjoyed the abundant life that Christ offers. He was content with food and covering. 1 Tim. 6:8 declares: For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. Life is not and will never be about stuff... Stuff brings only brings a temporary enjoyment, but when the stuff gets old we start looking for more stuff and it becomes a vicious cycle of finding happiness and enjoyment in life in the pleasures of this world. If we are not careful it will shift our focus off of God: For what does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul. Now hear me clearly, every one that works hard and makes an honest living deserves to treat themselves periodically to some pleasures, but when you begin to think those pleasures will give you lasting happiness you have failed. It is a dangerous thing to find your happiness only in the happenings of life. Our life will only be fulfilled when we disregard stuff and get wrapped up in Jesus Christ and His Holy Word... Stuff will rot and decay for Isaiah declares: Isaiah 40:8: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever. Many of you can testify I do not have much...nothing to fancy but I have Jesus and his word and when stuff fails me the word still stands! As long as the Word is standing up in me, I will stand forever. Life with Jesus makes living so much better! Let’s look at three things today: Number one, walk through the open door. The scene in John 10:9-10 was of a common sheepfold in the village where the different shepherds would bring their sheep each night. There was a hired doorkeeper to guard the entrance. The shepherd himself would lay across the opening to the shelter at night. Jesus likens himself in this illustration as both the shepherd and the door. Any intruders

Bishop Craig Worsham

Grant AME Church of Long Beach 1129 Alamitos Ave. Long Beach, CA 90813 • (562) 437-1567 grantamelb@aol.com • www.grantamelb.org Rev. Michael W. Eagle, Sr. Sun. Worship Experience: 10:45am 3rd Sun. Healing & Annointing: 10:45am Wed. Bible Study: Noon & 6pm Mothers of Murdered Youth & Children Were all receive a little attention, affection and love. New Philadelphia A.M.E. Church 6380 S. Orange Avenue, Long Beach, Ca 90805 (562)422-9300•F: (562) 422-9400 Pastor Darryl E. Walker, Senior Pastor Worship: 9:00am —1st & 5th Sunday Sunday School/New Member Classes: 8:00am 2nd thru 4th Sunday Worship:7:30 am &10:00am•Sunday School New Member Classes: 9:00am Sunday worship services streamed live on the web Pastor’s Bible Study: Wednesday Eve 7:00pm Mid-Week Bible Study: Thursday 12:00 noon www.nuphilly.org

Second Baptist Church In Monrovia 925 S. Shamrock Avenue • P.O. Box 479, Monrovia, CA 91017 •(626) 358-2136 •F: (626) 303-2477 Bishop W.M. Larue Dillard, Phd. Sunday Worship: 7:45am, 10:45am, 4:45pm Ministry Worship to Children/Youth Sunday: 9:45am - 10:45am Prayer/Academy of Biblical Studies (Wed): 10:45am - 6:45pm www.second-baptistchurch.com

Walking In The Spirit Ministries In Double Tree (Sonoma Grill) 13111 Sycamore Drive, Norwalk CA 90650 (213) 248-6343 P.O Box 1597 Norwalk CA,90651 Tim & Leshia Brooks

In Pasadena Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church 980 Rio Grande Street, Pasadena, CA 91104 *Mailing Address: 1416 N. Mentor Ave. Pasadena, 91104 (626) 794-4875 • F: (626) 794-7815 Pastor W. Harrison Trotter Sunday School: 8:30am Sunday Worship: 10:00am Bible Study Wednesday: 7:00pm Intercessory Prayer (Fourth Wed.): 7:00pm Christians Uniting To Make A Difference -Eph. 4:13 First AME Church Santa Monica 1823 Michigan Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404 In Santa Monica (310) 450-0331 F: (310) 450-4680 Rev. Reuben W. Ford, Pastor Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Worship: 11:00am Bible Study/Prayer Meditation: Thursday 6pm “The Church In The Heart Of The Community with The Community at Heart” Email:famecsm@verizon.net Facebook: First AME Church Santa Monica

Arise Christian Center In Westchester 6949 La Tijera Blvd. Suite C,Westchester, CA,90045 (310)568-8445•F: (310) 568-8430 • Arisechristiancenter.com Pastor Ron Taylor Morning Worship: 9:00am & 11:15am Bible Study Wednesday: 7:00pm Intercessory Prayer Tuesday : 7:00pm Intercessory Prayer Sunday: 8am - 8:45am Thursday:11:30am-12:30pm


Morning Worship: 11:00am Services Held Every 2nd & 4th Sunday and Free Breakfast Is Served Bible Study: 8:30am (Every 5th Friday)

had to get by him to get to the sheep. As the door, He let in the true sheep, but He excluded predators or thieves that would harm the sheep. Jesus says, ‘I am the door and if anyone enters through me he will be saved!’ I am the door. He is not referencing the doors of the church, but it is through Jesus alone. The church is just the gateway to Jesus [for most of us]. He gives us a consistent invitation to walk and receive protection and provision through “the door” that Jesus represents. Secondly, check your voices. The thief comes with false doctrine and false teaching to lead you astray by opinions and not the word. The thief here is a conglomeration of false teachers, poor doctrine and demonic influence. Be very intentional to guard your eyes and your ears. Receive life. Jesus says, ‘I am the resurrection and the life: I have come that you may have life.” Years ago, there was a TV game show called, “Let’s Make a Deal.” The contestants had to choose between a prize that was visible to them or another prize that was concealed behind a curtain or door. The visible prize was usually a nice item, like an expensive stereo or TV set. Sometimes the unseen prize turned out to be a joke, such as 10,000 boxes of toothpicks. But at times the person chose the visible gift only to discover –to their horror– that they had passed up behind the curtain be it a new car worth thousands of dollars or a fabulous vacation getaway. Whenever that happened, you felt with the contestant that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach that comes from making a major wrong choice. Don’t make that mistake spiritually. The visible prize is all the stuff you see in this world. But when you enter through Jesus as the door, you gain things that eye has not seen and ear has not heard, which have not entered into the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9). Live with Jesus. Live in His word. Live in His will. Live with His power. Live with His favor and live in the overflow.

Call (310) 677-6011 Ask for Kisha Pastor Profile continued from page 24 over at my kids and I put it down. I picked it up two times after that, but on the third time the Lord said, ‘It's your choice.’ And so, I made a choice. I had to do it because my kids needed me and I didn't go to nobody's rehab. What do you tell single mothers who have kids caught up in drugs as you once were? Well, I tell them the way I got out, but then I tell them not to be a crutch because that's not helping. You keep loving them. You let them get a bath, you let them get food, but you don't be a crutch and every time you can, pray for them, even though they don't want it. They don't even have to know you're praying for them. The next thing I tell them is–no matter what–just try to encourage them and it works. What have you learned about yourself in terms of strengths and weaknesses? That I'm not as strong as I thought I was, but that it was actually my weakness that keeps me saved, that keeps me before the Lord, because when you focus on your own strength, you're subject to falling. My biggest weakness is that I love the Lord and that has become my strength. Armstrong Williams continued from page 7 cers. Applications should be evaluated in the way that some law school classes are evaluated – blindly – based on their quality. Let's unrig the way that America admits young people to colleges. What these parents did is wrong. But the system itself is wrong. Let's see if the liberal media, the celebrities and the college admissions officers are willing to ask hard questions about the very system they all support. To find out more about Armstrong Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

PeopleFiles Price School Honors Allen Crabbe With Home Court In His Name

Last year when the Frederick K.C. Price III Christian Schools were on the brink of closing due to a financial shortcoming, it was none other than Price graduate and grandson of the school founder, Allen Crabbe, who came to the rescue. Crabbe, who attended Price from preschool through high school graduation and now plays basketball professionally for the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, donated a sum that was in the “mid- six figures”-- for which he was honored with the unveiling of the “Allen D. Crabbe Court”, where the school’s basketball programs will continue to host their home games for years to come. “I wanted to rebel a little when I was at Price, because it’s my family’s school and I felt like everyone was watching me,” Allen said in a press release. “I realized later on that it was the best school I could have gone to. It’s in that tough area and it gives kids safety and comfort and they don’t have to worry about gangs. The school is also part of my family’s legacy.” Frederick K.C. Price III Christian Schools, located on the campus of Crenshaw Christian Center, boast a 100 percent graduation rate and college acceptance rate. With 175 students and 35 teachers, Price is hoping to increase enrollment and improve its funding.

Donna Brazile Joins Fox News By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Donna Brazile says there’s no way she’s

selling out and her core values will always remain intact despite her controversial decision to sign with Fox News. “I’m not changing my values. Nobody would ever make me change my values,” Brazile told NNPA Newswire in an exclusive interview. “The only thing that will change about me is my age,” she said. The former Democratic National Committee chair, signed on as a contributor with Fox News Channel on March 18. Previously, Brazile had been a contributor for CNN and ABC News. In an op-ed article on FoxNews.com, Brazile wrote that she hoped to improve the tenor of political debate. “Will I agree with my fellow commentators at Fox News? Probably not. But I will listen.” Brazile said she would question assertions about low-income people and issues such as climate change, but would do so with “civility and respect.” Brazile added: “I will also freely admit the weaknesses in liberal arguments and the strength in conservative positions.” Her signing with Fox comes as the network has faced growing criticism and mounting allegations of racism as hosts like Jeanine Pirro and Tucker Carlson have spewed hateful messages on air. Fox has openly been aligned with President Donald Trump and many observers have criticized the network and the president for their alleged pro-white supremacy views. Brazile, a longtime friend of the Black Press, was honored last year during Black Press Week by the NNPA at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The NNPA is a trade group that represents over 200 Black-owned media compa-

nies in the United States reaching more than 20 million readers every week. “I’ve known Donna Brazile for about 40 years and, in 2016, the Democrats couldn’t have selected a better person to lead them,” said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA. Brazile said she expected criticism when she decided to sign this week with Fox News, adding that the importance of the 2020 presidential election was a primary reason she decided to join Fox News. She said it’s of great concern that the national debate has become hostilel. “Fox has one of the largest audiences during the evening hours and they are not just Republican voters and they’re not just Trump voters,” Brazile said. “In order to win, we have to expand the electorate and we can’t just talk to people who agree with us. We have to talk to people who may not agree with us because they don’t hear us,” she said.

Nick Cannon Steps Up to Support Sons of Slain Sacramento Man Aiden Clark was only 2 years old and his little brother Cairo, 1, when two Sacramento police officers shot and killed their dad in March 2018. Now, a year later, supporters — including actor and producer Nick Cannon - are coming together to show the boys and their mom, Salena Manni, some love. Cannon, who has hosted several popular TV shows, joined supporters, activists, politicians and bereaved family members recently at a private lunch reception in Sacramento to raise money for the family. The event was organized by the People’s Alliance of Justice, a civil rights group based in Los Angeles. “In this unfortunate tragedy is still some young people who have a bright future ahead of them,” said Cannon. “These are two children without a father. However you feel about the situation, that doesn’t change.

Love continued from page 7

and schools, gerrymandered districts and voter suppression picked up where Jim Crow left off. In 2011, a black mother was imprisoned for falsifying her daughter's address to allow her to attend an affluent, predominantly white school. Elite education creates an inherent tension between meritocracy and equal opportunity and the exclusive Stuyvesant High School is a good illustration. Earlier this month, the school announced its admissions for the next school year; it admitted only seven black students out of 895. At issue is the Specialized High School Admission Test, an entrance exam which is the sole criterion for admission, which some students prepare for months or years, sometimes hiring tutors to gain an advantage. The exam contains material not taught in schools, raising questions regarding its validity and calls for reform. High-stakes standardized testing in the US has its origins in racial bias. A century ago, the eugenics movement, which wanted to uphold the superiority of the white race were concerned the "infiltration" of inferior non-white people, "Negroes", Southern and Eastern Europeans, Jews and others would dilute the superior genetic intelligence of the Anglo-Saxon stock. They developed IQ tests to maintain the existing racial and class hierarchy. Psychologist Carl Bingham was influenced by these ideas when he helped develop the Scholastic Aptitude Test. The SAT is an exam that, according to critics, does not predict college success or determine merit,

Hussle continued from page 7

rebuilding efforts of local elementary schools. “You will truly be missed, and your legacy will live on,” said L.A. City Councilmember Marqueece HarrisDawson, who referred to Hussle as a “Poignantly brilliant musician, and a tireless advocate for South L.A.” Hussle worked with Harris-Dawson on several occasions including the March Against Gun Violence and on the black empowerment project “Destination Crenshaw”, stating that Hussle even inspired the name. Paperwork has been sent to the office of Councilman Harris-Dawson to name the intersection of Crenshaw and Slauson “Nipsey Hussle Way”. “[Nipsey Hussle] inspired so many people and loved the community he came from,” echoed Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson. “We should take comfort that his legacy will live on through his children, his music, his community, all those he positively impacted, including his vision and work on Destination Crenshaw.” Hussle was also known as a savvy businessman and entrepreneur who inspired many to become empowered financially. Early in his career Hussle used a marketing technique that turned heads by releasing his 2013 mixtape “Crenshaw” for free online but selling limited editions of the physical copies for $100 a piece. Rap mogul Jay-Z was so impressed by the move that he bought 100 copies himself. Hussle also spent millions purchasing the very shopping center where he was murdered, which was the location of several of his businesses including his clothing retailer, barber shop, and fresh fish market-- in an attempt to “buy back the block” and give black-owned business a place to flourish. He is survived by two children and longtime girlfriend, actress Lauren London. contains questions that advantage white students, and is designed to create inequality and profit the testing industry. It is ironic, or perhaps fitting, that rich white parents paid bribes to cheat on a test already designed to favor their children, while the SAT score of a black Florida student was invalidated recently for being too high. The Trump administration - supported by many adherents to the white supremacist conspiracy theory that whites are threatened with extinction due to an assault by inferior people of color through immigration, affirmative action and demographic changes - is in favor of ending affirmative action and has eliminated Obamaera measures promoting diversity in education. African American parents have always told their children they must work twice as hard to get half as much. The problem is that with the current state of regressive politics in the US, our children's children will likely have to hear the same words, unless we take urgent action. David A Love is a freelance journalist and commentator.

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Census continued from page 6

conference in Sacramento to share information about the state’s Census 2020 priorities, the proposal process, application requirements and project deliverables with interested contractors and sub-contractors. People who attended could show up in person or patch in through a teleconference line. Regina Brown Wilson, executive director of California Black Media, says she is encouraged by the steps the governor’s office is taking to address the “solvable” undercount problem.

“We Black community leaders and media professionals - are committed,” she said. “We are looking ahead and we are ready to do everything on the front-end, with all the tools that we have available to us, to prevent yet another undercount in the 2020 Census.” Inaccurate Census counts can lead to billions lost in federal funding for states. Those decreases can be far-reaching in disadvantaged communities that need the cash for things like social programs, infrastructure or schools. The number of Representatives a state is allotted in the US Congress is also determined by the

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Census count. An undercount in California in 2020 could mean the loss of one seat in the US Congress. The state has the largest population in the United States and the highest number of seats - 53 — in the United States House of Representatives. “The 2020 Census will shape California’s future for the next decade," said Assemblymember Marc Berman, "California is a big, bold, beautiful, diverse state — and because of that, we’re also the hardest to count in the country.” Research about past undercounts found that two demographic groups - immigrants

and young, usually poor, unmarried women with children of all races - are overlooked the most. The 10 regional administrative community foundations that the CCC announced at its quarterly meeting March 12 will be tasked with working with the local County Complete Count Committees, local community-based and grassroots organizations to help and get the word out.They include Faith in Action Network, Sierra Health Foundation, the California Community Foundation and the United Way of San Diego.

SavingGrace Charles Malik Whitfield eteran actor Charles Malik Whitfield’s improbable journey from selling drugs on the streets of the Bronx, New York to becoming a bona fide TV star–with nearly a hundred credits to his name– is almost cinematic in itself. Now, the forty-seven year-old father of seven, who has a lead role in Bounce TV’s new laugh-out-loud sitcom, “Last Call” and has appeared on many popular shows such as “Empire”, “American Horror Story”, “Southland”, “Supernatural”, “The Guardian”, and “Law & Order”-- is returning for a fifth season of the Tyler Perry created show “If Loving You Is Wrong” which airs this spring on OWN. Whitfield is comfortable in his co-starring role as Lushion on “If Loving You Is Wrong” as the honest and good-hearted cop is someone Whitfield identifies with. “I love and relate with my character,” Whitfield tells L.A. Focus of Lushion. “What I’ve always really wanted to do in a television series is to have the opportunity to be connected to somebody that I felt was your everyday, blue-collar guy who was very close to mysel…to be part of something that was positive and could also allow me a lot of light and latitude. In between all the intricate left and right turns, Lushion does the right thing. “People always say ‘I love your character’,” says Whitfield. “I’m like, ‘Me too’. I wish I could be as noble as Lushion. He has more patience than I do, personally.” Whitfield gets to balance the chaotic drama of “If Loving You Is Wrong” with a lead role on the light-hearted comedy “Last Call” alongside T.C. Carson, Brely Evans and Carl Anthony Payne-- airing Mondays on Bounce TV. “Going from a drama to a comedy allows me to be less guarded,” says Whitfield of the show described as a “black Cheers”. “It’s about creating a character that’s a little more accessible, vulnerable and interchangeable. It’s a lot of fun.” While Whitfield has stayed busy with film, television and theater since starting his acting career in 1992, it was his critically acclaimed role as the legendary singer Otis Williams in the Emmy-winning mini-series “The Temptations”, that gave him his big break. Ironically, Whitfield initially had little-to-no interest in doing “The Temptations”, because it required him to sing. This despite the excitement of his friends and family and the casting director insisting he was ‘perfect’ for the role and to ‘stop focusing on the singing aspect’. “Singing is just not in my comfort zone,” says Whitfield. “There were so many true singers on that set. My job was to sing, but not loud enough to mess up the singers. [Singing] was one of the reasons I initially turned down doing the “The Temptations.” But after weeks of trying more established actors for the role, the producers couldn’t get Whitfield out of their minds. “They called me and said, ‘the more people we brought in made it even more clear that you have to play this role,’” recalls Whitfield. While it is rare for a young actor to turn down the chance to play an iconic character, having a room full of executives beg you to take the job virtually never happens. The reason behind Whitfield’s hesitation to take a

L.A. Focus/ April 2019



They start to play the piano and my voice is cracking all over the place. I’m just terrible. They tell me to stop and say, ‘thank you for coming all the way out here’, without even giving me a chance to read my lines. I could hear laughter from outside the room when I left. role that required singing came from an earlier moment in his career, one that is far more familiar to young actors: rejection. “The ‘no’s’ I’ve gotten-- they’ve been strong,” Whitfield says of his early career. Years prior to becoming a Temptation, Whitfield was auditioning for plays in New York and found one that he was particularly excited for. “I read the material and felt so confident, I said, ‘this play is incredible, I’m going to kill this!’,” he recalls. But after taking a train and a bus in the middle of a snowy winter to audition, he was caught off guard. “When I got there, they asked me if I had my three songs prepared,” says Whitfield. “And I was like, ‘three songs!? I don’t even know one song!’ But they had me do one anyways. “They start to play the piano and my voice is cracking all over the place. I’m just terrible. They tell me to stop and say, ‘thank you for coming all the way out here’, without even giving me a chance to read my lines. I could hear laughter from outside the room when I left. “That really hurt,” says Whitfield. “In that moment I really wanted to quit because I was so embarrassed.” At times like those, it was the tutelage of seasoned veteran actors, such as Ruben SantiagoHudson and the late, great Gregory Hines, that helped propel him forward. “I was fortunate enough to have all these incredible veteran actors always willing to help, and I was willing to listen and be open to the gems they would pass on,” reports Whitfield. “Gregory Hines would take time to call me on Fridays just to check in on me! He was always so encouraging, as well as Ruben SantiagoHudson, who would work with me to break material down and give pointers.” While the trials and failures of attempting to make it as an actor regularly end the careers of many young hopefuls, Whitfield’s resolve was hardened from

growing up in a dangerous section of the Bronx, New York-- and learning some tough lessons. “When I was younger, I knew I was going to live selling drugs and I was going to die selling drugs. That was all I was committed to.” While Whitfield’s parents were able to provide a ‘middle class’ life for their kids as University educators, the long hours their jobs demanded left Whitfield mostly unattended, growing up fast in the streets. “We called it scrambling in my day, not hustling,” says Whitfield of his drug dealing days. “It was a business opportunity that becomes kind of a family scenario with your friends who trust you and you trust them. Of course, we know how this story goes-- it's a dead-end road. “I was fortunate not just to get out, but to not be the one killed. You start walking around in a state of paranoia. Do you keep trying to make money when you see people around you getting locked up and killed? It’s a very unstable and volatile place to be and it’s not very fun.” That all changed for Whitfield after taking a theater class in high school. “My high school teacher introduced me to acting and the whole perspective of theater that I couldn’t even imagine at the time. Suddenly I wanted to be part of the theatrical world because it was kind of cool and fun,” Whitfield recalls. “And my mom reached out and encouraged me,” he continues. It is, in fact, the women in Whitfield’s life that keep him grounded. “The incredible women in my life are my stabilizing factor-- my wife, mom, sisters and daughters have inspired me in so many ways. But especially, my mom, who is the anchor of the entire family with her guidance and wisdom and her admonition to us to ‘love many, trust few, but learn to paddle your own canoe.’” Along with his family, it’s the practice of prayer he’s developed, despite not growing up in a devoutly Christian household, that he credits as his saving grace. “I pray every day,” he says. “It’s the consistency that allows me to accept not being in control of everything. I have to relinquish all the control and allow the gratitude of so many who have lifted me up. “You have to be anchored spiritually so when the winds come-- and they’ll always come-- you don’t blow over. It’s how we embrace the rough times and learn smile through them-- and just keep it moving.”